Radiating good health and bonhomie, John Crosfield celebrated his 90th birthday at a surprise luncheon in the company of some 90 of his ex-colleagues at the end of October.
After lunch, Jim Salmon began the laudation by congratulating John on achieving his 90th birthday, remarking that even today, that was no mean achievement. He added, however, that Dr Hell, Crosfield's friendly competitor passed the 100th milestone. "As Crosfield was never content to be second best to Hell, we look forward to celebrating your 100th in due course,” he quipped.
Mr Salmon continued: "This is also an occasion to revive fond memories of Crosfield Electronics, the company you founded and for which we so enjoyed working. We were inspired by your spirit and enthusiasm, inherited we feel sure, on reading the books which you wrote about your Crosfield and Cadbury ancestors, from their fervent Quaker principles. Those families cared about people and their welfare. The Bourneville village that your grandfather George Cadbury built for his employees was a social revolution in its day. You inherited that ethos and kindled a family spirit in your company that we still enjoy today. For that, and all the enjoyment and prosperity we have experienced throughout the years, we thank you John. We thank your wife Edie too, for supporting you through thick and thin and congratulate you both on the diamond anniversary of your wedding which you celebrated a few months ago."
"John, yours has been a truly colourful life, not just through the application of electronic technology to all aspects of colour printing, but also in your personal life as a true polymath. Who else would have thought of using an electron microscope as a tool in creating truly amazing and memorable works of art? Your family biographies and 'Recollections of Crosfield Electronics' make fascinating reading and we're looking forward to seeing an account of your sailing exploits!"
"To ensure that the company's pioneering work in so many sectors of the printing industry continues to be remembered and recognised your former employees established the John Crosfield Foundation to keep the name alive and we are delighted that four students we have sponsored so far are here with us today."
Replying, John Crosfield thanked the organisers for gathering such a wonderful group of people from all over Europe and the USA for the occasion.
Recalling how, when he founded the company 58 years ago, the impetus in the development of the first products - the Autotron automatic register control and Scanatron colour scanner - came from British printers who also provided welcome financial support for the projects. Commenting on the technological progress since then, he described how the Scanatron was employed only for retouching the heavy glass-plate separations in use at the time. "How things changed when stable film became available, spawning the development of drum scanners which are still in use today," he observed.
Talking afterwards about his present-day activities, John related that he still played golf at Hampstead. "It's a 9-hole course but, as it's hilly, just as strenuous as an 18-hole one." And still painting? "Not so much. The walls of our residences in Hampstead and Florida, where we spend the winter, are totally covered with pictures and Edie threatens to throw some out if I produce any more!"
Another anniversary being celebratedampstead. "It's Ham on the day was the Crosfield Foundation's tenth annual golf tournament which contributes significantly to the Foundation's funds. The fund also receives support from several companies in the printing industry including The Bespoke Agency, Hewlett Packard, Lüscher, QuadTech, Turning Point Technologies and Xaar.
The Crosfield Foundation was established five years ago by former Crosfield Electronics employees as a charitable trust to assist young people in furthering their education in the Graphic Arts. Four bursaries have been awarded to date and it was rewarding for the Fund's supporters to meet and talk with the recipients, and hear now they are progressing.
Hein Ha, the first student to be sponsored by the Foundation, graduated from the London College of Communication (LCC) in 2004 and is now working in the communications and publications department of Ernst & Young, the international accounting and consulting company, in film and media production as an AV technician.
Peter Smith, the next recipient, graduated with an Honours Degree in Digital Media Productions from the LCC in July this year and is now employed by Service Point Ltd., in London where his duties include collating customers' job data, sorting the jobs and dispatching them for printing and finishing. A photography enthusiast, he related that the bursary enabled him to purchase a Canon EOS 200 professional digital camera, pictures from which will be displayed at an exhibition next year.
The 2004 bursary was awarded to Rachel Cutino who is now in the final year of the Digital Media Production degree course at the LCC, specialising in Web design. For her the bursary has been invaluable in covering expenses, particularly those incurred in travelling.
The latest recipient, Jessica Hancock, is a second-year student at LCC; also studying Digital Media Production. She hopes to work in advertising promotion when she graduates. She expressed her gratitude to the Foundation for the assistance provided. "The bursary enables me to buy the software I need for my studies and thereby helps me expand my knowledge of the subject."
To close the proceedings, John Crosfield presented the four protégées with autographed copies of his book "Recollections of Crosfield Electronics" together with cheques for the two students. That final act epitomised the spirit of the reunion, not one charged with nostalgia but rather bubbling optimism for the years ahead.
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