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Eddie Gittoes: A real character who leaves a real legacy to the cooling industry

We have today heard the sad news that Eddie Gittoes, managing director of Arctic Circle has died after his long battle with illness. He leaves a legacy to the industry in terms of both technology and the people he influenced

It is alwasy difficult for a reporter to do justice to a person’s life within the limits of a news report. So I am using my blog to pay tribute to Eddie, so that I can not only mark some of his many achievements, but also to talk about the impact he had on people too.

Eddie Gittoes had innovation flowing through his veins. There can’t be many technologies that the rac industry uses today that Arctic Circle hasn’t developed something for. A look back over the Cooling Awards shows that the company were in the forefront of hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, secondary refrigeration and heat recovery, to name but four.

Eddie was a passionate supporter of the Awards, and not just because he knew that his company always had something new to enter. He was a judge from the start, a passionate advocate of those who pushed the boundaries - sometimes patiently having to speak up for a candidate that had been overlooked and sometimes having to face down a majority of nay-sayers. He was also always keen on continuous improvement and would often send me notes after a judging round with suggestions for next year.

So it was not a surprise when the industry put Eddie forward to receive the Gold Award in 2010 for his contribution not just to technology but to the next generation of engineers in the industry. Many paid testament to the fact that he had turned Hereford into an academy of emerging engineering talent. In fact it soon became clear that the biggest problem, along with keeping the nomination a secret, was condensing all the glowing testimonials for Eddie from customers, colleagues and rivals, into one five minute speech.

I hope that others of you will want to add your recollections in the comment box below, for I could go on to list the achievements Eddie had with the BRA, with the IOR, or with many industry developments. But you folk could do that far better than I can, because one thing is certain, he influenced a lot of people in the industry.

So I just wanted to end by saying Eddie was one of the first people I met in this industry, and from day one he was always keen to encourage, sometimes to cajole, but always to be constructive - a rare enough gift, I am sure you will agree. His legacy will live on, in the company, in the work he has done, and in the people he has worked with.

Our thoughts go out to Debbie and the family, to his colleagues in the company, and to the many friends he had in this industry.

Readers' comments (6)

  • That is very sad news Andrew. I'm proud to have known Eddie as a friend and as a colleague for some years - a testament to the man that he kept so actively involved in everything work and industry related despite his illness - and always with a smile on his face.
    He'll be sadly missed.

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  • Sorry to hear of the passing of Eddie. Obviously sad news for his family and my thoughts are with them, but also sad news for the UK refrigeration industry as a whole.

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  • Stephen  Gill

    This is extremely sad news. What a loss to this industry. I have known Eddie for over twenty years and he has been inspirational in his drive and dedication to this industry and his company. A great man and a true professional. The terms 'remarkable' and 'industry leader' are over used these days but they very fitting descriptions of Eddie. My sincere condolences to his family and freinds at this very sad time.

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  • Really sad news about Eddie Gittoes. I have known Eddie for about 15 years or so. Eddie was a true refrigeration pioneer, providing leadership of the RACHP sector. He was a strong supporter of the IoR’s activities and is a sad loss to the Industry. Our thoughts go to his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

    Graeme Maidment

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  • It really is very saddening to hear of the very sad departure of my friend and colleague Eddie Gittoes.
    My condolences to Deborah & family. I have known Eddie for very many years and he was a very supportive colleague and friend.
    On my frequent visits to Arctic Circle, I would see Eddie in his office, in the
    early mornings, working profusely despite his illness. We would share the latest news within the RAC Industry and discuss the many initiatives that he was involved in - Eddie was indeed a True Ambassador for the RAC industry; always working to improve the status quo.
    As we all know, Eddie was very active within the Industry and spent many miles travelling up and down the country -attending technical and social events -never tiring, a man on a mission... he
    will truly be missed.
    At Arctic Circe he was very focussed in
    training and development and was instrumental in many training initiatives.
    I am very honoured to have had the pleasure of working with a real legend, a real gentleman, a real inspiration.
    Eddie's legacy lives on...

    Paul Singh
    ChillAir Training Academy

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  • Eddie was an amazing character, very few have matched his energy for the industry, the passion of trying new things even if they we not a success or not, I met Eddie at an early age I think twenty two and he was full of beans then as he was the last time I saw him at the cooling awards, fever funny, honest and a true and I am mean true supporter of the industry. Many times he tried to do what was right not just for arctic but for everyone, customers, contractors, etc, a bloody lovely, great, fantastic bloke and in my opinion, one of the greats, love to debs and the kids and all those at arctic, nick j and jackie j xx

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