Ted Richards

“I left Oswestry Secondary Modern Boys School (now The Marches School) in 1953, having joined in 1951 from Whittington C of E school. I then went on to Oswestry Technical Institute Secondary Technical School which I left in 1956 to join the General Electric Company at Witton, Birmingham as a drawing office apprentice. During the next 5 years I spent some 2 years on the shop floor followed by 3 years in the rotating plant drawing office. I qualified as a draughtsman in August 1961 and was involved in the design and manufacture of large rotating electrical generators up to 500mw. I moved on to being chief cost control engineer in 1974 and then moved to become industrial relations officer in 1975. I was appointed personnel manager in 1976 and continued in that role until I was made redundant in 1997. During the period 1956 to 1997 I enjoyed continuous employment through a number of mergers from GEC/C A Parsons/NEI and finally Rolls Royce. From the early 1980s through to 1997 I spent most of my time in the rationalisation of the engineering industry with the closure of many plants and units.

Outside of work I became involved in the local community with amateur dramatics, youth clubs, cricket and local politics. I was elected as a member of Castle Bromwich Parish Council in 1970 until I stood down in 1991 having been Chairman on two occasions. I was elected to the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in 1984 and am currently the Cabinet Member for Transport Highways. I have served in various capacities including Chairman of the housing committee from 1992 to 1996 and Leader of the Council from 2000 to 2007. I have also served on a number of regional and national bodies. I was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to local government and the community of Solihull.

Going back to my time in Oswestry, I was one of the founder cadets of the Air Training Corps 1165 Oswestry Squadron formed in 1954.

My advice to current students is decide what you want and go for it; don’t be put off and always have a respect for those around you. Nothing is impossible but take every opportunity to improve yourselves by maximising every opportunity you are presented with”.