Thursday, November 18, 2021

Manly Trust celebrates 30 years of backing youth and engineering

The Manly Trust, which supports a wide range of charities working with young people and promoting engineering careers, is 30 years old this month.

Founded by former BESA and CIBSE President Graham Manly in memory of his father Alfred Manly in 1991, it has so far provided more than £1.5 million worth of funding through 380 grants made to 130 different charities and causes.

A G Manly & Company, based in Wandsworth, was founded in 1948 and became one of the largest independent building services engineering firms in the UK. Graham joined the company in 1972 and became managing director 10 years later. The company was sold to Gratte Brothers in 2002.

Both father and son served as presidents of the Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association (now BESA).  Graham was also President of CIBSE in 2004 and was awarded an OBE for his contribution to building services engineering in 2012. He died in 2019.

Throughout Graham’s 40-year career, he championed many causes, but had a particular passion for supporting young engineers through education, training, and career development. He wanted to make sure this support would continue by setting up the Trust.

The grants made by the Manly Trust focus on charitable initiatives and projects, mainly in London, Surrey, and Sussex, that engage with young people, their education and developing their interest in STEM subjects – with a particular focus on engineering.

As well as many long-standing financial contributions to charities, the Trust supports several individual students through bursary funding at institutions such as London South Bank University, in partnership with CIBSE, and the University of Surrey.

It has supported 66 sixth form students over 15 years through Arkwright Scholarships and numerous apprentices and young engineers through the Alfred Manly Management Award in partnership with BESA. The Trust also provides bursaries to finalists in the CIBSE ASHRAE Graduate of the Year awards every year.

It also seeks to encourage interest in engineering from an even younger age through educational projects, particularly aimed at those from disadvantaged backgrounds or among those less well represented in the industry.  These include Surrey SATRO, In2scienceUK, the Smallpeice Trust and EDT.

Beyond engineering, numerous local charitable causes have been supported particularly those that support people with disabilities, life-limiting illnesses or who have been excluded from education. These include the Surrey Care Trust, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, and St Catherine’s Hospice.

Since its foundation, the Trust has been run by Graham’s wife, Margaret.  As the Trust celebrates its 30th Anniversary, she has indicated her intention to step down from the Board, leaving the remaining four Trustees – David Manly, David Montgomery, Tim Dwyer and Ewen Rose – to steer the ship.

“The Manly Trust has made a huge contribution to our industry,” said BESA President Neil Brackenridge, who won the Alfred Manly Management Award in 2002. “The amount of money donated and the causes supported are impressive enough, but the ongoing benefit to thousands of lives, careers and companies is incalculable.

“Graham and AG were hugely respected individuals who went far above and beyond the call of duty in their work on behalf of the wider building engineering community. We will forever be in Graham’s debt for setting up this wonderful Trust and to Margaret for her immense contribution as chair for three decades,” said Brackenridge.

“Winning the Manly Award in 2002 was a great honour and it was pivotal in my career development,” he added. “On behalf of all the members and staff of BESA, I would like to extend my congratulations on this major milestone to the trustees and enormous thanks for everything you have done and continue to do.”

CIBSE President Kevin Kelly said: “The Institution is grateful for and proud of its long-standing relationship with the Trust, which provides invaluable support for many of the causes that are so important to our members.

“Apart from the generosity of the fund, the Manly family have championed education and opportunities for young people, those with disabilities, and the socially disadvantaged from one generation to the next,” he added.

“Everyone at CIBSE is delighted to see the wonderful way in which the Trust continues to honour the legacy of our former president Graham and his father Alfred by continuing their great work.”

For more information about the Manly Trust email: or call: 01306 500755

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