The Heath Business and Technical Park’s scientific glassblower Paul Le Pinnet has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Paul, who was notified by the Cabinet Office in April, said he had to keep the news secret from friends and family until the announcement was made on Saturday, June 11 when the Honours List was published in the London Gazette.
He said: “I’m so very, very proud to be the recipient of an MBE. This honour came totally out of the blue. I had no idea. When I opened the letter in April I was totally overwhelmed, I just couldn’t believe it. I did have to tell my wife Michelle as she was beside me when I read the letter and she saw my astonished reaction. We then had to keep it a secret until the official announcement. We didn’t tell anyone, not even our son Phil until Saturday.”
Paul of Elm Road, Warrington, who celebrated with a family meal at the weekend, added: “It is an immense honour and is in recognition of my services to scientific glassblowing.”
Paul, one of only around 150 scientific glassblowers in the UK, stumbled into the profession by accident while training as a chemist. After breaking glass vessels in experiments, he was told by a glassblower that he should learn how to fix them. He went on to study at Manchester University before joining ICI and then his current employer SOG Group. He works with research chemists, physicists and biochemists from his technical laboratory at The Heath.
John Lewis Managing Director of SOG Group said: “I and the entire team at SOG are absolutely delighted for Paul Le Pinnet. This is a thoroughly well-deserved award and recognition of his tremendous skill, dedication and service to the world of science over many years.”
Currently Paul is in the process of writing a specialist technical book on scientific glassblowing.
Which has been commissioned by Imperial College Press (ICP).
ICP – a joint venture between Imperial College and the international publishing house World Scientific – combines the expertise of one of the world’s leading science institutions with the resources of a major scientific publisher. ICP approached Paul after discovering that there has been no book written on the intricate technical skills of scientific glassblowing for decades.
Paul’s book ‘Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing – A Practical Training Method’ is scheduled to be published towards the end of this year. It will be published both in print and as an e-book, and will be translated into a number of languages. It will be targeted towards students, established glassblowers and academic institutions in an effort to give a better understanding of glass and the techniques involved in scientific glassblowing.
A fellow of The British Society of Scientific Glassblowers, Paul has written numerous scientific papers, contributed to glassblowing journals and spoken at global glassblowing symposiums but this will be the first time he will have written a book on the subject.
Paul joined SOG Group – owner and operator of The Heath in Runcorn, Cheshire – when SOG bought the ex-ICI chemicals HQ site in 2000 and transformed it into a business and technical park. Instead of working exclusively on ICI-related projects, SOG promoted Paul’s unique skills to a far wider audience. Over the past 15 years he has undertaken assignments for research & development scientists from across the UK and around the world.
During his time with SOG Paul has showcased his skills to a host of VIP visitors including former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, former Foreign Secretary William Hague and members of the Royal Family.