Alfred William Elliott: In memory of
Alfred William Elliott, founder and namesake of the specialist earthing, lightning protection, and steeplejack firm A.W. Elliott & Co. Ltd. is closely tied to the ongoing legacy of FM Sudafix and its brand partner Earthing Services.
Alfred William Elliott was known by the industry, his family, and friends as Alf. With a great love of architecture, Alf was often somewhere in the world admiring a stone building or monument “soaking in” its historical importance. During the course of his life Alf was a significant patron of numerous charities. Whilst very active in his public life and civic responsibilities Alf maintained a quiet privacy for his personal and family life. Whilst an eminently successful businessman Alf was not an ostentatious individual, never wasting time grandstanding instead opting to direct so much of his time and efforts into charitable pursuits.
Due to his background in working in dangerous environments during World War II Alf’s skills were identified as a reserve occupation and consequently seconded for camouflage and demolition of the blitzed buildings of London. Largely working on either at risk structures or those that had been hit by the bombs of the Luftwaffe there was always a genuine threat to his life, particularly in unstable structures or where bombs remained unexploded yet Alf undertook his duties with determination and courage. Whilst undoubtedly exposed to some of the worst horrors of the war at home, Alf maintained his resolve and managed to bring joy to some of the lives he touched in London. Decades later a gentleman who had only been a boy during the war travelled to Nottingham to meet with some of Alf’s relatives to describe how Alf had brought hope and humour to his family throughout the war, and also how Alf had personally helped he and his family escape from London and live with Alf’s own family in Nottingham until they could find themselves a new home. Alf rarely spoke of this part of his life, and one suspects that like so many people who lived through those years that whilst he would never consider himself a hero, by any modern estimation (and at the least that of the people he helped) he very much was.
A.W. Elliott: Committed to Sports
A committed sportsman, Alf was a rower and a boxer amongst his other athletic pursuits, and this was something that he encouraged in others. A clear example of this was the direct support he gave to a certain up and coming Nottingham Panthers ice hockey player. Whilst Simon Perkins is a recognised Panthers veteran today, once he was just an enthusiastic squad player trying to break in to the main team. With Alf’s support Simon went on to achieve great things with the Panthers. Unsurprisingly this made Alf tremendously proud; making this sort of positive impact on the lives of others typified his behaviour and conduct. It is this act that inspired FM Sudafix to sponsor the entire Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team in June 2010. In later life Alf continued to devote a large amount of his time to exercise, ensuring that any changes to his daily routine still permitted time for his daily work outs, whilst making every effort to continue to support the development of young talent, such as aspiring boxers.
With over 50 years at the top of company, Alf championed and took great pride that other sector companies had to regard the work of A.W. Elliott & Co. Ltd.’s as the benchmark; indeed Alf continued to climb when on site inspections in to his eightieth year of age. The epitome of an industry professional Alf represented the best that a businessman can be, commitment to quality, corporate responsibility, and ensuring that the benefits of entrepreneurial success were channeled back into communities to improve the lives of others. Such values underpin Earthing Services’ and its brand partner FM Sudafix’s philosophy and can be seen in their various sponsorship and mentoring programmes; these values were not only inspired by Alf, they were largely learned directly from the man himself.
A.W. Elliott’s Legacy & FM Sudafix
Alf provided Earthing Services Senior Technical Partner John Maher with his first opportunity in the electrical safety sector, giving him a job as a lightning protection systems estimator; John Maher comments, ‘because I did not fulfill my academic ambitions until later in life, without Alf recognising my potential I would not have had the opportunity to join his company, and by extension the industry. Over the years I managed to continually contribute to the ongoing successes of A.W. Elliott & Co. Ltd. and as such rose through the ranks until I got to be Managing Director. That sort of apprenticeship, learning all the jobs on my way up through the company, has been hugely important to me and Alf’s support and guidance was instrumental in all of my career achievements.’
FM Sudafix’s former CEO Steve Hutchinson used to visit AW Elliott & Co. Ltd. during his early days as a sales representative, he recalls: ‘Alf’s reputation always preceded him and for a young rep it was a daunting experience to stand in front of him; he was always a serious man in the office so it was a good lesson in business to see how he conducted himself. He was focused on the importance of quality and what it meant to put your name to something, he really impressed upon me the importance of maintaining a good reputation and treating your customers with respect.’ This value continues to be upheld in all of Earthing Services’ and FM Sudafix’s business operations to this day.
‘Alfred William Elliott’s importance and influence cannot be overstated in any aspect of my life. I am honoured to bear his name and proud to be able to say that he was my grandfather,’ commented Earthing Services and FM Sudafix Partner Sean Elliott-Maher. ‘He was a vital part of my development and I truly hope that I have adopted some of his attributes. Enduring memories from my childhood include witnessing the enormous amount of respect and reverence in which people held my grandfather and whilst I deeply agree with the sentiment on a personal level, I have come to learn through my own career in the sector that this professional admiration was wholly warranted and profoundly felt.’
In a career spanning numerous achievements Alf took considerable pride when his company was selected to form part of the team responsible for restoring the fire ravaged Windsor Castle. Senior management, including John Maher, attended a reception at the completion of the project where they were awarded with medals and personal letters from Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. From humble beginnings but fiercely ambitious, through hard work and endeavours Alf achieved a recognition few of his peers could ever have hoped to have attained.
Alf died in 1998 and his funeral was attended by an enormous number of people, all coming to pay their respects to a man who in many ways represented the origins of the UK electrical safety industry. Behind the various successes he achieved as a businessman, or the support he gave to charities, athletes or people trying to make something more of their lives, the truth of Alfred William Elliott is that he was a rare and exceptional human being that contributed so much, leaving the world a far better place through the acts of his life than it could have been without him. Whilst his personal achievements included championing quality protection and restoration works, the personal development of his staff and their communities, and the advancement of the industry, he also took satisfaction that his company, and the team he had built, were selected above all others for an array of prestigious projects, and it is that legacy of experience that has fostered so many of the successes of Earthing Services and FM Sudafix; in that way Alf is still very much with us.