Duttine_1511-2UK: Alan Duttine, founder of Airedale and a hugely influential figure in the development of the European air conditioning industry, passed away at the weekend.

Alan Duttine formed Leeds-based air conditioning manufacturer Airedale in 1974 with colleague Peter Midgley. Between them they grew the company to be a leading international manufacturer of chillers and precision air conditioning, but Alan will also be remembered for his contributions to furthering the interests of the UK and European hvacr industry.

He was president of HEVAC, the UK manufacturers’ association, from 1990-92 and went on to establish Eurovent Certification, the certification body verifying the performance ratings of air conditioning and refrigeration products according to European and international standards.

He served as Eurovent president from 1994 to 1997 during which time he also oversaw the merger with European refrigeration association CECOMAF.

Sule Becirspahic, Eurovent’s then director of operations, observed: “Alan’s contributions to Eurovent/CECOMAF and Eurovent Certification were made in the critical period and without his perseverance and obstinacy the success might not have been achieved.”

In 1997 he was awarded the OBE for his services to export.

Already diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Alan retired in 2005, with Airedale being sold to US manufacturer Modine. The legacy he left was a global organisation with 450 employees worldwide and a turnover of £38.2m.

On Alan’s retirement, Cedric Sloan, at that time director general of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA), paid tribute to Alan’s selflessness and sense of duty and responsibility outside of the commercial interests of his own company. “He devoted his own time and money for the greater good,” Cedric Sloan said. “Beyond running a successful company and taking it from nothing to a multi-million pound company, he found the energy to do so much for the benefit of so many in the UK and Europe.”

Commenting on the loss of the company’s original founder, current Airedale managing director, Clive Parkman, said: “We are extremely sad at the passing of Alan. Clearly, he and Peter had tremendous vision in recognising the opportunities for specialised computer room cooling solutions, with comparable products still being sold today.

“We employ many individuals who have worked in the company since the early days and who will remember Alan for his passion for rugby and his ability to live life to the full. We send our deepest sympathies to the family at this very sad time.”

A service to celebrate Alan’s life will take place at 11.30 am on Thursday, 19 November at Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley, West Yorkshire followed by a social gathering at Ilkley Rugby Club. All welcome. Floral tributes are restricted to family only but, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alzheimer’s Research UK via http://alan.duttine.muchloved.com. Condolences may be sent to John Whitham Funeral Services, 30 St Paul’s Rise, Addingham, West Yorkshire, LS29 0QD. Tel 01943 831375.