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Bill Phipps 1917 to 2006

The materials handling world will be saddened to hear of the passing of industry stalwart Bill Phipps, who died peacefully on Sunday 26th March.

Many will remember the emotional climax to February’s FLTA Annual Awards for Excellence ceremony, as Bill took the stage – to a rapturous standing ovation – to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bill’s career in the fork lift industry started in 1946 with Coventry Climax, where he served for 34 years as demonstrator, salesman, area sales manager and eventually home sales director. His work for the company took him as far a field as Iran, Canada, Holland and Sweden.

Re-emerging from his ‘first retirement’ in 1980, Bill set himself up as a Consultant, advising STILL in its development in the UK, and remained in the industry for a further 14 years.

Presenting the Award, FLTA President Richard Baxter commented: “How can you quantify the achievement and contribution of someone who has worked so hard for so long? The list of companies who benefited from his advice reads like a who’s who of top industrial names – Ford, Metal Box, Bird’s Eye and the Port of London Authority, to name but a few.”

He added: “It’s been said that Bill has hydraulic fluid flowing in his veins, and the words ‘fork lift truck’ written through him like the lettering in a stick of rock!”

Long-time friend and FLTA Board Member David Woods, who accompanied Bill to the event, said: “It is almost as though his final act was to climb the rostrum at the FLTA evening and receive his ‘Archie’, contented with such a high accolade to his life’s work serving our industry.”

FLTA Chief Executive David Ellison agreed: “We feel sure that Bill’s family will be able to reflect on those emotionally charged moments, just a few weeks ago, when he received his Award, and take some comfort from the knowledge that he had earned the respect of the whole materials handling industry.”

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