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Cooling champion celebrates 90 years

UK: Dr Stephen Forbes Pearson, co-founder of Star Refrigeration and, arguably, one of the UK’s greatest living refrigeration engineers, has celebrated his 90th birthday.

It is perhaps appropriate that someone who had such an influence on the development of refrigeration, both in the UK and globally, should have such a significant birthday coinciding with World Refrigeration Day and its theme of Cooling Champions.

Although no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the Star Refrigeration business, Forbes is said to still take a keen interest in the company and its activities. 

“I had great fun last year writing a history of Star for our 50th anniversary which involved getting Forbes and Anthony [former colleague and co-founder, Anthony Brown] to reminisce about the 1950s and 1960s,” son Andy Pearson said. Their memories were remarkably clear and detailed.”

Remarkable is a an apt word to describe his career as well. This included 11 years at the legendary refrigeration company L Sterne & Co, becoming divisional director and chief engineer of the company’s industrial refrigeration division, before co-founding Star Refrigeration in 1970. During his career he was responsible for a large number of product developments and is holder of an array of patents. 

His achievements did not go unrecognised. Forbes was awarded the IoR’s Hall Thermotank Gold Medal in 1991, was awarded the Lightfoot Medal on six occasions and presented with the prestigious IIR Gustav Lorentzen Medal in 2003. A fellow and former president of the Institute of Refrigeration, Forbes is also an honorary life member of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration. 

According to son, Andy Pearson, Covid restrictions meant that they had to cancel the big family party – so will have three mini parties instead!

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