It is with deep regret that we announce the sudden death on 2 January 2016 of Bruce Russell, valued HNCC trustee who was so generous with his time and expertise. We will miss him.
Here is Bruce Russell’s Obituary
Bruce Russell 1944-2016
The death has occurred (Saturday 2nd January 2016) of Bruce Russell, a well-known figure in the British Construction industry, particularly abroad.
His father Edward was a Civil Engineer, working on perfecting tank-launching pads for the D-Day invasion for two years before it took place, just as Bruce was born. Bruce followed Edward into engineering which he never ceased to find fascinating and absorbing. He was educated at Highgate School, and regretted that, in those days, the school did not take engineering seriously, but was biased towards medicine and the law. This did not deter him, and he read Civil Engineering at Leeds University, where he met his beloved wife-to-be Jenny.
After graduating he immediately started work with Taylor Woodrow, on a cargo tunnel at Heathrow airport, learning a whole new range of swear words, as well as how to work extremely hard. Soon he was on the Danube basin in Romania, working on a huge irrigation project, learning another new language, this one based on Latin and French roots, and also learning to respect the locals’ ability to breakfast on ‘tuica’,a powerful plum-brandy.
Mining in Sierra Leone was next, becoming Project Manager, up in the bush, and turning around a failing project. This time he had to learn respect for the so-called ‘dragons beneath the ground’ and their effect on the men above. He cared deeply for the well-being of his men, and they responded to this.
Dubai ,Malaysia and Borneo beckoned and were enjoyed until he decided that his three children should have a settled English education: he could not bear to send them away ‘to be brought up by someone else’ and so the family returned to the United Kingdom. Bruce still travelled the globe: recognised throughout the industry for his ‘can-do’ approach, he rose to become Chairman of Taylor Woodrow International and a Main Board Director. He gave evidence on behalf of the construction industry to Select Committees about the importance of foreign contracts, went on foreign trade missions, was part of the reconstruction of Kosovo following the break-up of ‘Yugoslavia’, and of the development of the Light Rail Transit system in Kuala Lumpur in time for the Commonwealth Games, when he had the pleasure of advising the Queen to ‘hold on tight’ as the train set off on its maiden journey.
Taylor Woodrow effectively bowed out of international construction in 2000, and Bruce took early retirement – and continued to use his practical and relationship skills. He became Emeritus Professor at Guildford University, developing a course in Construction Management, a Major in the Engineering and Logistics Staff Corps, a Governor of Highgate School, a Trustee of Highgate Cemetery, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, and the Highgate Newtown Community Centre, as well as giving his time generously to other local charities.
He eventually succumbed to the strains of an enlarged heart, which he had coped with from birth, a fact few friends would have guessed, as they saw him golfing hard, producing enough fruit and vegetables from his garden to make the family self-sufficient, walking the Cornish Coastal path, sailing his dinghy, and supporting his local football team, Arsenal.
He is survived by his wife Jenny, and their three children, Sophie, Pippa and Guy and eight grandchildren.