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More a Family Than an Industry

Against the backdrop of history, the future of the casting industry was celebrated and honoured at the ICME Annual Awards Lunch.

Many of those honoured during the special day in October have spent their entire careers in the cast metals industry but for some it is the start of their journey and there could be no more fitting a venue than the Black Country Living Museum which tells the story of Britain’s industrial heritage through an open air museum, fun interactive activities and archive films.

The museum is an educational facility, a vital resource that brings history alive. Indeed the subject of education and how we develop the casting industry in the future is both topical and critical to the industry’s future success so it was with no hesitation that ICME president John Townsend FICME welcomed Oliver Stubbs Medal winner Paul Gullick IEng FICME to the stage to collect his award. “Education is at the heart of what we do,” Townsend told the audience. “It is what we as an institute stands for and the recipient of this award has been instrumental in educating our young people.”

Humbly picking up the medal, which was presented by Prof John Campbell OBE FREng Hon FICME, Gullick said: “I have been a member of the Institute for 44 years and I am proud of that so I am acutely aware of what an honour it is to receive this award.” It was also fitting that Gullick was presented with the award in what could be considered “his patch” just a few miles from where he was educated at Tipton Grammar School. After a career in the industry with several foundries and a great deal of experience, in more recent years Gullick has been deeply involved in working with ICME to develop improved education options for those in the casting industry. “It is fabulous to be involved in this renaissance in foundry training,” he said. “I have met some splendid young people who are the next generation of foundry managers and technicians.”

Stronger Together

Pride, comradeship and support from peers became themes of the event. In receiving Meritorious Services Medals - as longstanding members who have made a significant contribution to the Institute and the wider industry - both Dean Millington EngTech Prof MICME and EurIng Andrew Turner CEng FICME spoke of their pride. “This is a great honour,” Turner said. “It is also such a special occasion to be here and spend time with so many friends and colleagues from the industry.” The former branch and national president continued: “I am passionate about the Institute, which my life is intertwined with and which has in turn been a great support throughout my life.”

Millington said he was “extremely proud” to be a part of the West Midlands, Birmingham and Coventry Branch, which he thanked for nominating him for the award. Since winning the Young Foundryman of the Year Award in 1992, Millington has continued to be an extremely active member of the branch culminating in serving as branch president in 2009-2010.

Alf Etherington Prof MICME also received the Meritorious Services Medal but was unable to attend the ceremony.

The commitment and passion of ICME members is particularly heartening, and this is indeed demonstrated in the Long and Notable Services Award category. This year the awards were bestowed upon Clive Clemens Prof MICME, Michael Kidd IEng Prof MICME, Chris Sadler Prof MICME and David Sumner CEng Prof MICME. Having travelled from Australia to collect his award Sumner joked: “I must be a true foundryman as I love the smell of a greensand foundry.” Having worked in iron foundries since the late 1960s, Sumner served as Lancashire branch president in 1997-1998 and on various Institute technical committees dedicating many voluntary hours to the Institute. He and his wife Dorothy emigrated down under in 2005 but the Institute remains in his heart. “I’ve worked with some fantastic people,” he said. “Many of whom are no longer with us including Eric Thomas, Graham Hall, Matt Rutter and Peter Wakeman. Coming from Australia to collect this award indicates what an honour it is. I am so proud to be involved.”

Echoing the theme of commitment, John Townsend also took the opportunity to present a silver Long Service Pin to Martin Gibson Prof MICME who has been an Institute member for 38 years. “Our long-standing members are the backbone of the Institute,” said Townsend.

The M M Hallett Award is presented every three years to an individual, a group of people or to an organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the foundry industry by the creation of new ideas or inventions; the award is sponsored by Chamberlin and Hill in recognition of work carried out by M M Hallett. This year Jerry Call travelled from the United States of America to receive the award for the work he has undertaken for the American Foundry Society.

Former secretary of the European Investment Casters’ Federation, David Ford was presented with the E J Fox Award for a significant contribution to the development of the foundry industry through an invention or a piece of research, in Ford’s case for his work with the development of superalloys and investment casting technology for more than 40 years. The current EICF chairman Steve Irwin presented the award.

Ford said: “I didn’t consider myself a real foundryman as I came from the delicate industry of investment casting but I thank the Institute for changing from the Institute of British Foundrymen in 2000 to the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers and welcoming all parts of the metal casting industry. I am proud to be a member of this industry and proud of this award.”



Presenting the medal named in his honour Prof John Campbell praised this year’s recipient of the John Campbell Medal, Prof Helen Atkinson CBE FREng, for her “panache”. He said: “She has so many claims to fame and her papers always make elegant and pleasant reading.”

The tables were then turned on the man who has been a mentor for many in the industry as he was presented with an ICME Honorary Fellowship. Much to his surprise he was left speechless. John Townsend said: “Prof John Campbell is a gentleman of the industry. Although he is world-renowned, we all know him very well and he is a ‘hero’ to many of us here.”

The Up and Coming

Given in memory of former ICME president Peter Nix, the P C Nix Award for a young person working in the non-ferrous sector was presented by Peter’s son William Nix MICME to Richard Hewson MICME of Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering Ltd. In presenting the award Nix told the audience. “My late father was an inspiration to me and it is hard to follow in his footsteps but I believe I have come a little way and it is a pleasure to be able to present this to Richard Hewson and encourage him in his future career.”

On behalf of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, Sam Apsley CEng FIMMM Hon FICME presented the Jubilee Award to Rajinder Sidhu of Newby Foundries Group. Apsley said: “It is important for livery companies to support education - this is very dear to my heart.” In addition to the award the recipient also receives an expenses paid trip to the World Foundry Congress.

Sidhu thanked ICME, the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers and his colleagues at Newby for their support. He said: “It was such a great opportunity to attend the World Foundry Congress in Japan and the chance to go on the works visits was fantastic. I would like to apply much of what I saw there so it really was inspirational for me.”

Dipl-Eng Patxi Rodriguez and Dr Edurne Ochoa received British Foundry Medals for the best technical paper published in Foundry Trade Journal in 2015 for their paper entitled: ‘Development of a new methodology to use recycled secondary aluminium substituting primary A356 aluminium alloy in safety components in low pressure technology.’

Thanking immediate past president Mark Fenyes IEng FICME and his wife Andra following their year of office, John Townsend presented them with their past president’s regalia and said: “When you accept the role of ICME president you know it is an honorary role and you assume that means some input but Mark’s presidency came at a difficult time for the Institute so I commend him for his hard work in managing change and in making a very large commitment to our Institute. He has done a wonderful job and it has been a privilege to work with him.”

For more information on the ICME Awards visit