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Tributes to businessman and ‘wonderful’ family man

Mr Corry Thomas Graham. (s)
Mr Corry Thomas Graham. (s)
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Tributes are pouring in for a well-respected community stalwart and owner of a local engineering firm who died earlier this month.

“A gentleman, role-model, kind and wonderful” are some of the words that have been used to describe Mr Corry Thomas Graham, founder and owner of Graham Engineering Limited, Nelson, who died on June 8th, aged 74.

The father-of-four grew up in Nelson, with a short time in the Isle of Man. attending Holy Saviours School, Nelson, before beginning his engineering career with an apprenticeship at Clavel-Bate and Nephews, at the age of 15.

Mr Graham was renowned as a “gifted engineer” from a young age and founded Graham Sheetmetal (now known as Graham Engineering Limited) in 1970. He worked day and night to build the business from nothing to the 180-strong workforce of today. His creative engineering methods and belief in

investing in the latest technology, steadfastly developed the business through some economically tricky periods, resulting in long-term contracts from the Aerospace, Healthcare, International Security, Atomic Weapons Establishment and the UK Nuclear Estate, all of whom demand the highest standards and exceptional performance.

Graham Engineering Ltd is one of the Nuclear Decommissioning Estate’s premier and longest-serving suppliers of a suite of 28 types of nuclear waste container. Mr Graham assisted in developing virtually every intermediate level nuclear waste container currently in use in the UK, along with numerous other nuclear installations.

His innovative problem-solving skills have seen competitors approaching Graham Engineering for assistance – where they found difficulties, Mr Graham always had a solution. An inspiring and accommodating employer, he fostered a culture of team-building, honest communication and flexibility. He was a role-model to young people, encouraging apprentice training and progression, which was recognised nationally and locally by numerous business awards.

His influence on the economy of the town is significant along with the number of local charities he contributed to over the decades.

Paying tribute, his family said: “He was a wonderful, caring and supportive family man, always making time to attend important events in both his children and grandchildren’s lives, even with his hectic work schedule. He would say family time is sacrosanct, an immovable item in his diary.

“He was an engaging and astute businessman, compounded by his exceptional personal attributes of kindness, consideration and integrity. He was well-respected by peers and business associates for his knowledge and transparency and held considerable stature in the UK manufacturing industry.

Outside of work, he loved the British countryside and was a keen field sportsman. He enjoyed time spent on the moors, on the river Spey in Scotland, and ran a fishing syndicate at home, allowing many local residents access to his angling facilities.

“He treated everyone he met with respect and kindness; he was a gentleman of the highest order, a man of his word and his influence and leadership will be greatly missed.”

Mr Graham leaves his wife Pauline, daughters Sharon, Corrina and Kelly, son Aran, seven grandchildren, sons-in-law Mark, Simon and Dominic, and brother Walter.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday at Holy Saviour Catholic Church, Nelson, at 1pm.

There is a request for family flowers only, but donations can be made to Macmillan nurses or Pendleside Hospice c/o Helliwell’s Funeral Services, Bracewell House, Church Street, Barnoldswick,BB18 5UT.