In Loving Memory of Matt Rutter (1954 – 2009)
Obituary written by his best friend Liam McCauley
Matthew Rutter known to all simply as “Matt” was born on 28th February 1954 at Canter Street in South Hulme, Manchester. He was the son of Matthew and Lillian Rutter (née Lavery) and had a brother Peter and sister Betty. He is a person that I will always remember as being happy with a cheeky grin, who was blessed with the gift of the gab and was a perfect gentleman with a positive attitude. Behind the smile was a very clever and driven individual who has left his mark. I believe, from reading his own account on “The Rutter Family History Site” that some of his determination came from his father who served in the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers – 50th Column who, amongst other things, volunteered to fight in the Second World War and joined the ‘Chindits’ to fight in Burma with 3000 men and hundreds of mules, oxen and elephants. They spent 12 weeks marching 1000 miles with their Commander in Chief, Ord Wingate and managed to cross the River Irrawaddy before going deep into the jungle with the Ghurkas and an Indian Bathan. The objective was to cut a railway line between Mandalay and Myitkyina, harass the enemy in the Schwebo area and if possible cross the River Irrawaddy and cut the railway line between Mandalay and Lashio. It became near impossible to re-supply them by air, sickness and heat took its toll before Wingate ordered a dispersal. The unit lost 883 out of 3000 men and the memory haunted his father Matthew all his life, which Matt dealt with in his usual dignified and matter of fact way.
The foundry industry was his soul as his father’s stepfather was a moulder in the foundry industry and a brother of his grandfather worked at ‘Metrovicks’ (GEC Trafford Park) in the metallurgical department. He moved to Granville Avenue in Whalley Range, Manchester when he was four years of age and it was there where he met his life partner Margaret Foulkes (Maggie) who hailed from Rochdale. Matt and Maggie married in 1975 and settled down in Little Lever where they have two daughters, Jennifer and Helen. Two years ago Helen gave Matt and Maggie a granddaughter ‘Rubie Sue’ who he adored.
Matt was educated at Manley C of E Primary and Barlow Secondary /Chorlton High/Chorlton Grammar school in Manchester. After leaving school he studied pattern making at Openshaw Technical College. In 1976 and after a few years on the bench he went on to complete a HND in Foundry Cast Metal Technology at Bolton Institute of Technology.
He got his first job as Technical Manager at Hanson Foundry Ltd in August 1987, which was a marine engineering and foundry specialising in valves, propellers and stern gear. His main role was in commercial sales, technical and quality. He implemented ISO 9002 and helped them to become the first UK non-ferrous foundry to use simulation finite difference models using “Solstar and Mavis” simulation packages to predict shrinkage defects and develop new methods to eliminate them. Matt produced class 1 valves for fleet support for the MoD submarine service ‘Right First Time’. He was promoted to the board in 1990 and became an owner director and manager, reporting to Bamford & Co, after also restructuring the company through the IIP initiative.
He moved on in January 1996 and his mode of transport during this time progressed from a BSA 250cc Starfire motorbike via a Reliant Robin to a Triumph 1500. Maggie and I started our ‘Ironman’ run up training on a Reliant Robin he owned on numerous cold Little Lever mornings and subsequently on their neighbour Gary’s Vauxhall ‘Shuvette’. We also lifted the front end of the Robin on one occasion while Matt changed the wheel!
From 1996 to 1998 he was Managing Director of Corrosion Resistant Alloys Ltd, reporting to Broady Vales Ltd, where he designed and installed a full manufacturing facility from scratch to secure guaranteed high integrity Class 1 castings in Nickel Aluminium Bronze for Naval applications along with a fast response facility from stainless steel and Nickel alloys and employed 14 staff.
After a short stay at Holcroft Castings and Forgings in Rochdale, he moved on to Alcoa Lingotes (Alloy Technologies) in 1998 where he was Technical Commercial Manager over commercial and sales activity and where he developed and implemented a full quality system to meet QS 9000 and ISO 9002. There, a new innovative process called ‘Gemini’ later renamed AGSC – Advanced Greesand casting was introduced and 100’s of new product introduction programmes were brought in using APQP, PPAP and Control plans (in Matt’s own words “Happy Days”).
In 2001 he moved on to MIC Ltd (Manchester Investment Castings) where he maintained ISO 9002 accreditation and managed quality, technical and a specialisation workforce whilst training, coaching and developing them in ‘Lean’ methodologies and management skill sets.
In 2004 Matt moved to Aircelle Ltd in Burnley as Lean Enterprise Team Leader across operations and he was also a Business Excellence Change Agent. His remit included the lean production of reverse thrusters for the Airbus A330, A380, Lear Jet, Embraer and Bombardier aircraft and other aircraft sub assemblies.
He was a council member of the Lancashire Branch of the IBF (Institute of British Foundrymen) for 18 years and also served as Branch President from 1998 to 1999, a member of the Association Bronze & Brass founders Technical Committee for 3 years, an ABBF Commercial Committee member for 4 years, a member of the C.D.A. MoD Specification Committee for 9 years and finally a member of the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers for almost 40 years.
He achieved the Red Rose Award from the IBF in 1975, TQM award for SME’S in 1993 and the ETSU award for energy reduction within the foundry Industry in 1994 plus the Long and Notable Service Certificate of the ICME in 2004.
Matt’s last 12 months of his career was spent at Celerant Consulting Limited working as an Assistant Project Manager which was the job that he had trained all his life for that has turned out to be his “Swan Song”. He was part of a Change Management Team based in Belgium who was tasked with implanting “Best in Class” across SPE – Luminus who are the second largest player in the Belgian energy market and belong to the top 30 largest Belgian companies. SPE have gas-fired electricity plants, wind farms and hydraulic power stations in Walleria and Flanders. He was also about to go out to do some work for Cadburys in Australia for a month but it wasn’t to be.
Matt’s career had taken him to many countries including France, Germany, Northern Ireland, USA, Spain and Belgium and he had developed numerous business acquaintances abroad through working on various European and International airline projects. His interests included going to the gym several times a week, aerobics, circuit training, weight training, swimming, cycling, palm reading, handwriting analysis, going to the cinema, party animal, reading science fiction books, family history and connecting with all his school and work pals past and present. His pride and joy was his Custom Cruiser and he used to own a Virago XV535, latterly he owned a Yamaha Virago XV1100 which he used to ride with Maggie to Rivington Barn to meet his fellow bikers and cruise around the lanes of Lancashire. He could also do a mean impression of Northern Soul dancing from his Wigan Casino days and this “smoothie” wouldn’t be out of place on “Strictly Come Dancing". He had the physique of Rambo and looked like James Bond in a dinner suit. He was, and always will be remembered as a true gentleman with the love of his fellow man by everyone who knew him; the world is a poorer place without him.
Matt passed away peacefully on 17th November in a hospital in Genk in Belgium surrounded by his loving wife and daughters after suffering brain damage due to heart failure. He is missed by his sister Betty, his brother Peter, his wife Maggie, his daughters Jennifer and Helen, their partners Keith and Andy and his granddaughter Rubie Sue plus all his close family and friends of whom there were many ………………. …………I am sure that I can hear those angels laughing up in heaven as another party kicks in!
RIP my friend.