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Mike Winney 1943-2007

MIKE WINNEY, a former NCE and GE editor died suddenly at the end of March.

Throughout his life, Mike was a passionate and extremely knowledgeable advocate for engineers and engineering, being equally comfortable talking about bridges, buildings, engines, aircraft or cars - of which he kept numerous classics.

Yet civil engineering was his main focus. He started his career on the John Laing graduate training scheme in the 1960s before moving to London Transport after ve years. There he satis ed his passion for railways by working on the design of the cut and cover section of the Piccadilly Line Extension to Heathrow. He became a member of the ICE in 1973.

But it was as a journalist that he will best be remembered professionally and personally. He switched careers in 1975 to become a reporter for Construction News.

While there his nose for a story was developed and, in particular, his unique talent for reporting disasters.

It was his reporting of the Teton Dam collapse, plus numerous bridge falsework failures and the subsequent campaign to improve safety that made his name as a reporter and saw him rapidly promoted to technical editor.

His clear journalistic talent was quickly noticed by NCE who poached him in 1980. There, he continued to produce outstanding news and features and again led the way with reports of the Abbeystead gas explosion, earthquakes in Mexico and San Francisco and construction of the Thames Barrier and the M25.

Mike was editor of GE between 1988 and 1989 before continuing his career at NCE. He was editor at NCE from 1993 and stepped down to become editor emeritus in 1998.

He will be missed.

Former GE editor Judith Cruickshank writes: When I joined Thomas Telford at the end of 1989 to take over the editor's chair at GE I was more than a little apprehensive at following in the steps of Mike Winney. I first met Mike in 1975 when he joined Construction News, his first job in journalism.

Within a very few months it was obvious that the paper had made a valuable acquisition. Mike proved himself to be an excellent journalist with a keen nose for a news story. He was a great colleague too and although we worked on different areas of the paper, he was an excellent collaborator - always ready to supply a contact or a technical detail. He was greatly missed when he moved to NCE and, in time, to GE.

But however accomplished a journalist and editor Mike became, at heart he remained an engineer; always wanting to clarify the 'how' and the 'why', and taking in nite pains to check the details of a story.

It was a daunting act to follow and would have been still more dif cult had he not been so generous with advice and so supportive.

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