ENTREPRENEUR and TV celebrity Deborah Meaden has taken a controlling interest in the prestigious Wellington company Fox Brothers.

The star of Dragon’s Den, who was born in Taunton, intends to revive the fortunes of the world-renowned wool and cloth mill which she describes as an “absolute gem.”

Initial discussions about the takeover were held with previous managing director Jack Hudson in Taunton’s Castle Hotel last summer but the deal has only been completed in the last few weeks.

Deborah Meaden told the County Gazette this week: “My husband and I have known about Fox Brothers for a long time as he went to school with two members of the Fox family.

"When the opportunity came along to buy a controlling share it was an easy decision to make.

“Mr Hudson was looking to retire so the deal suited everyone.”

She added: “There are only a handful of mills still weaving cloth in this country and like other companies Fox Brothers has not found it easy in the recession.

“But the company is an absolute gem with a wonderful workforce, some of whom are third or fourth generation.

“What we will be looking to do now is to get Fox Brothers back on the map. It’s still got a fantastic reputation overseas but how many people in Somerset know about it?”

Deborah Meaden, who lives in Somerset, has been joined in the venture by design director and textiles expert Douglas Cordeaux, who will help to devise the company direction and strategy.

The company currently has 15 employees but will soon be recruiting new blood as well as starting an apprenticeship scheme.

Established in 1772, Fox Brothers originated flannel cloth for suits and still produces some of the world’s finest wool and cashmere fabrics.

Former clients include Winston Churchill and Cary Grant.