Jimmy Hendry EngTech AfCGI FCIPHE RP and Master Plumber, writes of his friend, Anthony Gerald Brunton IEng LCGI FCIPHE RP.
I first met Tony Brunton in 2009 when I hit a plumbing legal issue, he was approaching 70 by this time so was almost at the end of his career. His name had cropped up a few times throughout my own career as he lived just through the glen, and I’d also contacted him briefly to discuss water storage the previous year.
Knowing I was running out of options and with seemingly nowhere to turn I apprehensively texted Tony…. “Hi. I’ve a Plumbing problem, can you help?” an almost instantaneous response was “YES”. I’ll come back to this later.
Tony was a friend, my friend, he was knowledgeable, loved a good argument, a good laugh, could hold a conversation for hours and loved nothing better than inviting you to his house for breakfast and a good professional discussion. You were always welcomed at Tony’s.
The first time I was at the home that he shared with his lovely wife June I noted several industry awards scattered round amongst the professional books, paperwork and other things , two CORGI awards come to mind, he was a “Master Plumber” a Past President of the CIPHE, A Fellow of the CIPHE, head of the complaints board at SNIPEF, to name but a few and would in time also be presented with the SNIPEF merit award for the fantastic work he carried out on all our behalf.
He was well known in the circles of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, CORGI, IGEM and the APHC and to highlight one of his many achievements, as an example, happened to mention in passing once that he was one of the experts called in to compile the Gas Safety (Installation and Use Regulations) 1998. A document which today serves as the backbone of any legal gas case and one which every gas engineer, plumber and technically proficient member of our trade knows only too well.
Tony also knew sadder times having lost his son Fraser and was never afraid to admit that he still very much loved and missed his son and the heartbreak it had brought him and June. His other son Michael brought him a great deal of joy and he was never happier than when he would visit Michael and his family.
He loved to read, something I also love to do and at his funeral I found out it was, like myself a passion which had been handed down to him by his mother. I sent him a book on the ill-fated Franklin expedition two years ago and he called to discuss the different parts and to thank me.
Although we spoke often, the last time I saw Tony face-to-face was the ASCP Corgi conference in 2019. Illness had taken its toll, but his spirits were still high, and we had a great catch up.
I called him to say thank you when I won the “On the Tools” Plumber of the Year 2022 as he has mentored me in a great many areas, and I felt a note of thanks was due to him when I received the award. Indeed, without Tony’s guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today.
It really just leaves it for me to say that if you were lucky enough to have known Tony at some point in your professional career then you would have an ally. His wife, June, said she didn’t have a clue about half of what he did, and I feel this may be something that we will never know.
Of my previously mentioned reason for contacting him to ask for his help, Tony sorted out in 10 minutes something that had been a great source of worry for me. During a trip to a formidable looking lawyers offices overlooking the castle in Edinburgh, Tony and I were sat across the table from some very serious looking professionals. He passed a piece of paper over the table, said “My name’s Tony Brunton, these are my qualifications, and I include a note of my findings. I’ll also remind you all that the Sheriff allowed an extension of the case when he heard I was involved in the defence”. CASE CLOSED.
As he would later say to me “If you are in possession of the facts James, everything else is inconsequential”. Another famous saying of his was “With the best will in the world” usually aimed at some foolish and ill-thought-out argument by someone.
In conclusion, Tony had a life spent in the service of a trade he loved and surrounded by people who respected him, what more of a legacy could you ask for?
Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE, added “Jimmy has penned a heartfelt tribute to Tony, who devoted many years in support of the CIPHE's aims and activities, especially in Scotland. He was a very proud Master Plumber, who was especially pleased to serve as National President of the Institute in 2005/06. The plumbing and heating industry is poorer for Tony’s passing, and my condolences go to his wife June and their family and friends.”