A Message from Chris Wilkinson

Published: 2nd September 2013

I can’t believe that more than a year has passed since I took up the prestigious position of President of the Huddersfield Textile Society, and what a year it has been! It has been the most incredible year of my life not only in terms of being the first Woman President in the Society’s long history, but in terms of all that has happened during this time.

We all celebrated the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games and the 60th year since the Queen’s Coronation and I was so honoured to be invited to one of the Queens Garden Parties in June this year, the wonderful memory of which I will never forget.

This has been a year when I have met the Rt Hon Vince Cable, the Industry Secretary, at the Huddersfield Textile Centre of Excellence, presented the awards to the Young Apprentices there and then attended the conference ‘A New Dawn’ at the Clothworkers Hall in London with the likes of Vince Cable, Lord Alliance, our very own Cheryl Kindness from Camira, Paul Smith and many more illustrious speakers.

I have borne witness to Bill Macbeth, CEO at the Textile Centre of Excellence, being awarded his OBE for ‘Services to Learning and Skills’ and the launch of the National Group Training Association,(an Industry led partnership) extending the training model created by Bill and his team, right across England.

I have witnessed Chris Antich, one of my many cherished students, appointed to the new Governing Council of the European Technology Platform responsible for directing future research and development activity across Europe.

The Society has kept up its tradition of awarding prizes to the Students in the School of Design at the University of Huddersfield, the Apprentices from the Textile Centre of Excellence and the ‘A' level Students at four of the local schools.

It was wonderful to welcome more than 220 members and guests at the Textile Society Dinner in April this year, and also to see so many attending the super programme we put on during the 2012/13 session and I hope to continue this tradition of excellence in the programme we have put together this coming season.

We are kicking off the season with Prof. Jonathan Sands OBE, Honorary Doctorate (Huddersfield Uni), Chairman of Elmwood Design Consultancy recognised in the Sunday Times’ ‘Top 100 Best Companies to Work for’ and recipient of the Yorkshire Post’s ‘Best Managed Business’ award. Elmwood has also received over 100 national and international design awards.

We then have Victoria Stapleton, the inspirational founder and Creative Director of ‘Brora’, a success story of British Manufacturing. Cheryl Kindness, Captain of Industry, Design and Development Director of Camira, a company the UK is unequivocally proud of, will be giving the last 2013 lecture and in February 2014 we have invited Tamar Giloh, Founder and President of Tamicare Ltd who will tell us about her developments in the much talked about 3D Printing. Our visit this year is to Abraham Moon of Guisely. So we look forward to seeing you all in the new season.

Bill Macbeth and his team at the Textile Centre of Excellence has continued to support the Society so generously and I would like to thank him for his hospitality at a venue which ticks all the boxes in terms of reception, buffet, lecture theatre, a highly professional visual aids facility, comfort and free and safe parking.

Lastly I would like to extend a big thank you to all the officers and members of the Committee for the enduring support and unstinting help they have given me during my Presidency.

Chris Wilkinson 
(President, Huddersfield Textile Society)