TWO lifelong friends have been given the civic seal of approval for their badge business.

Cecile Biot, run by Mary Armitage and Jacqui Smith, both 55, has sold 200 badges – called Magnetars – to the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Keighley councillor Abid Hussain.

The friends handed over their order to the district’s civic leader in City Hall.

The design, featuring the Bradford crest, will be handed out to residents who meet the Lord Mayor.

It has the unique feature of interlocking teeth, which along with super strong magnets, holds material in a vice-like grip.

This is part of the firm’s move into personalised badges after initially supplying university graduates.

The women have been friends since they were 11, when they met at St Joseph’s College in Bradford.

They both still have part-time jobs, while they expand their business.

Mrs Armitage, of Cullingworth, said the Lord Mayor was impressed by the badges and gave the pair encouraging words for their future success.

She said: “We really enjoyed our visit to see the Lord Mayor. He really liked them. He was very encouraging.

“The badge looks really nice with the Bradford crest on it. We think the design looks fantastic and is a positive reflection of our city. It features the Bradford skyline.

“We have got quite a lot happening with the business.

“We are supplying to the Liberal Democrats party and also talking with a car dealership. We want it to be an affordable accessory.

“We’re marketing it to universities to use at graduation ceremonies and also to different organisations.

“It is Yorkshire made, which is important to us.

“We are both still working part-time but we hope to be doing this business full-time by summer next year.”

They started their company with the guidance of business mentor Colin Holmes.

The idea came after Mrs Armitage’s daughter struggled to keep her gown and hood in place during her graduation.

Set-up in 2014, the firm has branched out from the Graduation Magnetar - a Yorkshire-made device to hold gowns and academic hoods in place during graduation ceremonies.

This product started at Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield universities and is now supplied to 35.