A GREETINGS card printing firm celebrated moving into its new factory with a centuries-old tradition.

Staff at Windles in Thame, which also prints packaging for Sony, Armani and Harrods, this month revived the ancient printers' ritual, the Wayzgoose.

This autumnal event traditionally marked the day in the year after which printers could no longer work by daylight, and had to start using candles.

The master printer would throw a party for his staff, usually an excursion into the countryside, with much feasting, merrymaking and sport.

In a recreation of this historic knees-up, on Friday, September 8, Windles managing director Bruce Podmore invited staff from fellow printers the Croxley Press, in Watford, Hertfordshire, and workers from Groves haberdashery next door in Thame for an afternoon of fun, games, and – despite the weather – swimming.

The day also saw the unveiling of a new, specially-commissioned Technicolour sculpture by artist Claude Heath, who joined the celebrations with his young children.

Windles business manager Michelle Mills said: "The event was fantastic.

"We had crazy weather but it was a really great day.

"Bruce made a swimming pool out of pallets and a number of people got in to have a swim, including him."

Building swimming pools is not the only innovative use Windles has found for its leftover wooden pallets.

The company has also managed to reduce its gas bill by 50 per cent in its new factory by throwing leftover pallets in a specially-built furnace out back to heat the building.

Innovations like this saw the company named Environmental Company of the Year 2016 by industry magazine PrintWeek.

Judges also praised the £5m new factory's glazing and insulation techniques, rapid-roll doors and a campaign to encourage staff to make small environmentally-friendly changes in their day-to-day work.

Windles was previously based in Long Crendon two miles north of Thame since 1986, but outgrew the space.

It actually moved into its new, purpose-built factory last year, but only got around to its official opening ceremony and art unveiling this year.

When commissioning their new building, managers took the opportunity to go as green as possible.

Mrs Mills said: "Windles Group lead the printing industry environmentally, practicing everything we do in the most environmentally-sustainable way.

"We use renewable energy to heat our factory and are therefore proud to contribute to the significant breakthrough that nationally this year our country broke the 50 per cent barrier for renewable energy, as national grid reports confirmed that 54 per cent of energy used in the UK was from renewable source."

Speaking about the Wayzgoose ceremony, she added: "It was time to celebrate our amazing industry, thank our teams for their hard work during the busy summer, and bring back some good old British tradition."