Elizabeth Bonfield, who will perform the traditional clockwinding ceremony Oct. 3 at WAI’s office in Madison, Connecticut, has a sterling background that makes her a superb U.K. industry representative.
Bonfield has worked at the director level in the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors for the past 20 years. As managing director of three vocational awarding bodies, she spent 10 years creating opportunities for individuals and businesses in training and qualifications. She currently works as an executive coach & trainer for Skills 4 UK in Leeds, a U.K. leading consultancy for diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Bonfield chaired a steering group that successfully delivered a Skills 4 program into the U.K. engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors to address the skills shortages faced due to the lack of retention and progression of women and prior experience at the British Manufacturing Plant Constructors Association. She also arranges the National Metals Apprentice of the Year awards in categories Craft and Career Development on behalf of the Worshipful Company of the Tin Plate alias Wire Workers. Multiple members of the company have previously wound the clock.
The most recent clockwinder, Martin Thacker, had the unique experience of serving for three years, the first two times (2020 and 2021) being virtual. Thacker—whose grandfather was a wiredrawer in Sheffield, and his father worked for Markham and Company Ltd., as did his uncle—appeared the third time in the flesh on Nov. 3, 2022.
The clockwinding tradition originated when John Rigby and Sons, Ltd. of Manchester, England, presented the Wire Association with a 400-day grandfather clock at its Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 20, 1948.
The gesture, which represented a group of 32 companies from Great Britain, was made in appreciation of the support given by the U.S. wire industry to Great Britain during World War II.
The massive mahogany case, standing about eight feet high, was made about the year 1770. The clock’s lacquered brass and silvered dial is hand engraved and bears around the arch an ancient sundial motto reminding us that “Time can neither be kept nor destroyed.”
Each year a representative from the U.K. makes the trip to the U.S. to participate in the annual ceremony that commemorates the friendship and communication between the two nations.
The clock resides in the lobby of the Wire Association International headquarters in Madison, Connecticut.
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