Tributes paid to engineering expert

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known engineer, successful businessman and inventor who died suddenly at his Suffolk home.

Will Clarke

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known engineer, successful businessman and inventor who died suddenly at his Suffolk home.

David MacKrill, 73, of Bury St Edmunds, was best known as the head of his own engineering firm and as the inventor of the Maclift skip mechanism, which is still used today.

He died from a heart attack on June 30 having recovered from cancer and an aneurysm of the aorta.


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His widow, Jo, described her husband of 44 years as “generous and optimistic” and said he was an excellent father.

The budding engineer began his career with Rolls Royce where he tested Blue Streak ground-to-air missile rockets on the Scottish borders until the government withdrew funding in 1961.

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Disillusioned with the end of the Blue Streak project, Mr MacKrill moved to Bury where he found work alongside fellow engineer John Sheppard before going on to set up his own company.

The company worked successfully primarily in waste management for 25 years and employed almost 200 people at its peak.

It was during this time he invented the Maclift lifting system still seen today on skip lorries.

Mr MacKrill went on to pursue a successful career as a consultant engineer developing labour saving mechanisms for the waste industry.

On top of this work Mr MacKrill earned a reputation as a respected magistrate and as president of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management.

Mrs MacKrill said: “He was very focused on his career but as I came from an engineering family I knew what was involved and accepted it as part of the package.

“He was very kind, generous and optimistic man who was a wonderful father and supportive partner.”

She said she had many warm memories, particularly of motoring holidays with friends who shared the couple's passion for Jaguar cars.

Their daughter, Holly Jones, 35, has followed in her father's footsteps and now works for JCB in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

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