02 July 2012
A PIONEER in Grimsby's offshore wind energy industry has received one of the highest honours from his home nation.
Kurt Christensen has been given a first class knighthood, recognising his continued work as a consul for the Grimsby-area, and also highlighting the efforts in an industry that the Scandinavian country is at the forefront of.
It follows an earlier honour eight years ago for the former fish auctioneer, who is currently having a third crew transfer vessel built for his town-based Windpower Support business.
The Cleethorpes resident, who came to England as a three-year-old son of a trawler skipper, received the honour from the Danish Ambassador to Britain, Anne Hedensted Steffensen, who presented it on behalf of Queen Margrethe II, at the Danish Embassy in Sloane Street, central London. It followed his 60th birthday celebrations, attendance at the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind 2012 exhibition in the capital, with the proud family man arriving back in town for Father's Day.
"It was quite a week," he said. "I was really surprised to receive it, and then surprised what a big thing was made of the presentation when I went to the embassy. It was really nice.
" I had a really successful show, that finished on the Thursday night, then on the Friday morning I was there getting that."
A dozen representatives from various departments, including trade and consular dignitaries were present, with a champagne reception laid on.
"I didn't expect anything like that, and I was so pleased to have Carol, my wife, there and my cousin also. They thought it was great. We had a super day out."
It was rounded off with lunch at Carlton Towers, the iconic hotel across from the embassy.
"This was one of the best weeks of my life," he said. "The show was a great success for us, I finally got to know what some of the big companies think of us and what we are achieving, which was very flattering. I might seem quite brash, but I am quite shy when people start talking about me and what I have done. I said the honour was uncalled for, but they begged to differ!"
Mr Christensen, who is a proud advocate of Greater Grimsby as well as his homeland, is now working with the embassy to facilitate a visit to the town he has called home since the age of seven, when his family crossed the Humber.
"The Ambassador was aware of the history, of the story of Grim the Viking – or Grim the Dane should I say!"
As previously reported, Mr Christensen launched Windpower Support in 2008, based on a concept of taking the strain of small but often complex issues out of the supply chain for the major operators. From acting as ship's agent to the growing fleet of crew transfer and standby/patrol vessels, he has worked with the philosophy of 'yes is the answer, now what is the question' – building up to employing more than a dozen staff from the Lockhill base. He believes the can do attitude and importance of responding quickly, a legacy of the fishing industry, has impressed clients.
Presenting the award, Danish Ambassador to Britain Anne Hedensted Steffensen, who took up the position in September, having previously served as State Secretary for Trade and Corporate Affairs at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Mr Christensen: "You have for 18 years, since 1994, given service to Denmark as consul in Grimsby. During these years you have promoted British/Danish relations in business and culture, as well as provided consular assistance to Danish citizens when needed.
"You have in particular been active in helping Danish companies in the British market in the renewable energy sector, primarily wind power, which is a Danish core competence. We are delighted that you are accepting the Decoration of Knight, first degree of the Order of Dannabrog."