Quarmby quits…

Former IDE president resigns from Institute council.

Former Institute of Demolition Engineers president Dr Terry Quarmby has announced that he is stepping down as a member of the Institute’s council and simultaneously relinquishing his position as a trustee of the organisation.

His resignation brings to an end more than a quarter of a century of unwavering commitment to the IDE cause. The loss of his passion, dedication and belligerence leaves a void that will be impossible to fill.

Quarmby enjoyed one of the longest IDE presidencies, stepping up from vice president to take up the mantle when the incumbent president – David Ross Turner – was suffering ill health. Together with his vice president and ultimate successor John Woodward, Quarmby presided over what many still see as the IDE’s Golden Age; a period in which the Institute evolved from parochial club to globally-recognised trade body. Subsequent IDE presidents might have basked in the spotlight of demolition degrees coming to fruition within their reign, but the seeds of those successes were sown and nurtured during the time of Quarmby and Woodward.

Quarmby is not without his detractors, of course. He was and remains an archetypal Yorkshireman: forceful, irascible, outspoken, often obstinate and occasionally obnoxious and frank enough to inflict blunt force trauma with nothing more than conversation. There is a Winston Churchill quote that could have been designed for Quarmby: “You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for something, some time in your life.”

And boy did he stand up. Over a 26-year IDE career, Quarmby modernised the Institute, introduced the membership exam, acted as examiner, wrote and introduced CPD. He wrote, developed and presented lectures for the Masters Degree; wrote developed and presented the Foundation Degree. He represented the demolition industry on numerous occasions with Government, NGO’s, academia and trade bodies on subjects as diverse as safety, the environment, and waste management. He was an advocate for sustainable development and design for deconstruction long before they became fashionable. In his “spare time” he managed to earn himself a masters degree and a PhD that makes him the world’s first Doctor of Demolition.

This is not the first time Quarmby has quit the IDE council. Back in 2015, he resigned citing the apathy of others. With characteristic candour, he claimed that some IDE council members were overly negative and slow to make decisions. “I haven’t been happy for a while,” Quarmby said at the time. “And I don’t particularly agree with the views of some on the council who seem hell bent on taking us backwards rather than forwards.”

On that occasion, he returned to help push the Masters and Foundation degree courses across the finish line. Now in his (early) 70s, a second comeback seems less likely.

His resignation unquestionably leaves a void. IDE council meetings will appear anodyne and sterile for his absence. But his work here is done. And even though it is not in his nature, the cantankerous bugger has more than earned a break.