Cecil Duckworth, the man who founded the Worcester Engineering Company (now Worcester Bosch) and helped to introduce the combi-boiler to Britain, has died aged at the age of 83 after a lengthy illness.
This great engineer was latterly just as well known for his association with Worcester Warriors rugby club, which made him life president in 2015.
The club said: “The establishment of Warriors as one of the top 12 clubs in England is due entirely to Cecil’s vision and generosity.”
Cecil Duckworth was born in Cheshire in 1937. He moved to Worcester in the 1958 having secured a five-year apprenticeship with Redman Engineering, qualifying as a mechanical engineer in 1961.
He established Worcester Engineering Co Ltd in 1962. The company grew slowly, then in 1970 Cecil Duckworth introduced the first combination boilers. The popularity of his new type of heating system saw a rapid expansion of the business. 22 years later he sold the company to the Bosch Group, retiring four years later. He is recognised as being the first non-German to head an operation within the Bosch Group.
In 2004 he received an OBE for services to the community and to rugby. This was followed, in 2013, with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his charity contributions to the Worcestershire community.
Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “Cecil Duckworth made a huge contribution to both the city of Worcester and our wider county.
“Worcester Bosch remains one of our major employers to this day and the impact that Cecil’s original company has gone on to have on our local economy cannot be overestimated.”
Councillor Bob Brookes, Chairman of Worcestershire County Council said: “Cecil Duckworth was a gentleman who did so much for the city of Worcester, not just for Worcester Warriors and Worcestershire County Cricket Club. He also did a lot for many charities – he was a true ambassador for Worcestershire and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and condolences as a Council go out to his family and friends.
“As an engineer, I can appreciate his genius that completely changed the way central heating and hot water boilers work. It revolutionised house building. I hope his successful career will inspire a new generation of young engineers and innovators to create other new products.”