In April, BDA senior architect Michael Hammett retired after 21 years with the association. To say that his retirement will leave a yawning gap is no slight on his colleagues since Mike's knowledge of, enthusiasm for and energetic promotion of all 'matters brick' is awesome. It would be hard to cite any area - technical, marketing, education - that has not benefited from his expertise, invariably shared in the most generous manner.
Mike joined BDA in 1979, having worked in private practice and then with Wycombe District Council, where he had been a principal architect. What is not widely known is that architecture was in fact a career change. In the late 1950s, Mike was a biologist working for MAFF on search-and-destroy missions for insect pests. Inspired by the work of Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto and encouraged by his wife Moya, he changed direction, studied architecture at the Northern Polytechnic (1959-64) and left entomology to others.
He joined BDA's education team, whose remit included every sector of the construction industry - practising and student architects, contractors, bricklayers and construction colleges, distributors and brickmakers. His duties included lecturing up and down the land.
Over the years, technical committees and working parties too numerous to mention have benefited from his participation - notably the BSI committee responsible for masonry codes.
Add to that a wide range of technical publications, press articles and his guiding editorial hand in Brick Bulletin - all underline the scope of his contribution.
Mike's retirement will not mean a complete break with the world of brick and we look forward to his continuing contributions to Brick Bulletin, which he has promised to add to his postretirement pursuits.