(47) Charles Alexander Copinger
Charles Alexander Copinger was born on 25th November 1903 and was educated at Bentham Grammar School. Later a five year apprenticeship with the Bentham Electrical Supply Co., on gas and diesel engines was combined with a three year course at Lancaster Technical College. In 1924 he was works electrician for George Angus & Co. Ltd., Bentham where he rewired the factory and installed a telephone system throughout the works.
In 1927 he commenced a studentship with the Harland Engineering Co. Ltd., at Alloa under the tuition of their chief designer A. W. Maudling. He had by now a complete knowledge of electrical systems, all types of motors and the installation and maintenance of electrical and hydraulic pumping plants. After a year in London in 1931 he was transferred to Newcastle upon Tyne as Resident Engineer in charge of the planning, sale and installation of electrical plant, pumps and water turbines and the later maintenance of it.
On 27th December 1933 he married Flora McDonald Furness of Wolsingham and set up home in Rowlands Gill where he lived until his death.
In 1938 he left Harland to join Robert R. Paton of Cardiff for whom he opened a Newcastle Branch as manager but after 8 months the Managing Director of Harland invited him to return to the company on promotion to Branch Manager. So he became Branch manager while still carrying on the duties of Resident Engineer and was responsible for the installation of plant at over 90 stations on behalf water boards in the North East, all under his personal supervision and many to his own design. He was also well known in the area for his engineering work in collieries.
In 1932 he became an Associate Member of the Mining Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and in 1947 a Member of the Institute of British Engineers.
During the war he obtained a commission in R.E.M.E. but was withheld by Harland as he was already doing important work involving the installation of pumping equipment on submarines and aircraft carriers. Throughout the war he served with the Durham County Special Constabulary and his interest in this voluntary service continued after the war when he was promoted to Inspector.
In 1950 he left Harland to become District Engineer for the northern area of Durham County Water Board, a post in which he was responsible for the upkeep of reservoirs, pumping and filter stations, most of the plant which he had installed, and the supply of water from them.
His spare time was filled to the utmost with many interests and hobbies. He had always been interested in wireless and modified a mine detector to assist in the search for unrecorded water mains. In time he was Chairman of many committees in the village, from the Rent and Rate Payers Association for whom he once unsuccessfully fought a council election, to the Gibside Music Club which he and his wife had helped form. For some time he was an active member of the local drama group where he was typecast in "An Inspector Calls". To assist these associations he collected a large number of dance records and his regular dances, (an early mobile disco) and the social evenings which he ran became a part of village life. Another hobby was letterpress printing and he undertook a considerable amount of the village printing jobs. He became qualified to give sun-ray and ultra-violet ray treatment with equipment that he had built himself
He died at his home after a long illness on 9th January 1958 survived by his widow and only son.
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