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Kevin Farrell FIMMM (Obit)

Fellows' Lounge
1 May 2009

Kevin Farrell FIMMM, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) for 25 years, died peacefully at the Douglas MacMillan Hospice in the early hours of 28 March 2009.


Education and early career

Kevin was educated at St Joseph’s College, Stoke on Trent, and graduated from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London. During his years of higher education, he broadened his experiences by undertaking vocational work and scholarships in the USA and Spain between 1964 and 1966. Later he studied for a national postgraduate diploma in Management Studies at what is now Staffordshire University.

Kevin began his career in the late 1960s working for the National Coal Board in Staffordshire, where he was responsible for manpower planning and consultation. He moved to the Board’s national headquarters in 1973 to cover incentive payments and conditions of service for mineworkers. An early convert to IT, he worked on one of the first remote computer terminals to be imported to the UK and used his skills to build complex and integrated databases that evaluated coalface operations.


Employment with the British Ceramics Confederation

After working in the mining industry during a historic period of change, Kevin joined the BCC in 1984. During his tenure, he helped the industry operate more effectively in the global marketplace, in particular in the USA and Europe.

Kevin, an experienced lobbyist and negotiator, was proud of how the BCC united diverse companies to focus on projects and campaigns that supported the industry as a whole. In recent years he devoted much attention to influencing Government policy in relation to energy pricing and supply and, as Chairman of the lobbying organisation Energy Intensive Users Group, he helped secure more favourable market conditions for the manufacturing industry generally.

As Chairman of the Coalition for Safe Ceramicware in the USA, he defended the UK tableware and giftware industries’ interests in the face of burdensome legislation that could have seriously impacted on North American sales.

A highlight of Kevin’s career was the completion of a three-year project to produce a beautiful china tableware service for Her Majesty the Queen to mark her Golden Jubilee. World-famous names including Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, Royal Crown Derby and Johnson Matthey contributed to the design and production of the 93-piece dessert service. Kevin was part of the small team from BCC that presented the gift to the Queen at Windsor Castle in June 2003.


Recognition of his work

Kevin was also a dedicated supporter of Stoke on Trent College and other local educational institutions. He served on the Council at Keele University for many years. In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Staffordshire University in recognition of his contribution to the ceramics industry and towards the development of education in North Staffordshire.

President of the BCC, Ian Dudson, paid tribute, ‘Kevin made an immense contribution to the ceramics industry, not only in North Staffordshire, but nationally and internationally, during his 25 years at the helm of the BCC. He approached every task and issue with immense enthusiasm and vigour to ensure that the UK industry’s interests were safeguarded and promoted.

'He was also instrumental in forging practical and appropriate solutions to the development of further and higher education in North Staffordshire. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues, both in the industry and beyond’.

Kevin, who was 64, leaves a widow Jackie.