Thursday, January 13, 2022

BESA salutes former President Edgar Poppleton

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) was saddened to hear of the death of its former President Edgar Poppleton.

As well as serving as President of what was then the HVCA in 1986/7, Edgar received the Association’s distinguished service award in 1999 and worked voluntarily on behalf of the membership and the wider industry for more than 50 years.

He served as chair of numerous committees and his local region, contributed to many technical publications, and became a board director of several HVCA subsidiaries. A Fellow of CIBSE, he was also a recognised ventilation expert beyond the UK and took inspiration from many of the ideas shared with like-minded engineers in Europe and the US.

Born in Colwyn Bay in 1934, he was the grandson of the founder of the family firm E. Poppleton & Son that continues to thrive today as one of the country’s leading ductwork fabricators and contractors. The company, now branded as Poppleton, is fast approaching its centenary and has been a member of BESA for more than 60 years.

At the age of 17, Edgar approached his father Arthur about employment at the firm but was advised to: “Go out into the world and learn something, if you fail, do not come back here looking for a job but if you succeed, come back here and I will consider you.”

This spurred Edgar to train as an indentured engineering student apprentice with G. N. Haden & Sons in Manchester. He also attended Newton Heath Technical College and secured an Ordinary National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. This was followed by a diploma from the National College for Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering part of what is now London South Bank University.

Having secured that promised job back at the family firm in 1961, Edgar went on to succeed his father as managing director and introduced several technical innovations that, not only improved the efficiency and performance of the firm, but also helped to raise the bar for the quality of work carried out by the whole ventilation industry.

His dedication to supporting the industry through its trade association created an admirable company ethos. His successors as Poppleton managing directors also served as BESA Presidents –Gareth Vaughan (2008/9) and Tim Hopkinson (2017/19).

“BESA and the ventilation industry have both lost a true champion and distinguished innovator,” said current BESA President Neil Brackenridge. “Edgar was respected, but also widely popular. He gave tirelessly and selflessly of his time to help improve our industry and his fellow engineers.

“He leaves an amazing legacy that lives on through the ongoing success of the company and the Association to which he gave so much.”

Former BESA chief executive Robert Higgs OBE said he would remember Edgar with great fondness adding that he should have been extremely proud of all he achieved.

“Without doubt, he elevated the position of his company, the ductwork sector, the HVCA, and the industry,” said Higgs.

“Whilst being highly regarded for his professionalism, commitment, preparedness, and attention to detail, members and staff will remember him as being amongst the most genial, supportive and effective of the Association’s Presidents.”


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