From the 23rd to the 25th October, forty seven students from the following local schools benefitted from a unique hands-on learning experience hosted at Culford School.


  • King Edwards School
  • St Benedicts School
  • County Upper School
  • Thurston Community College
  • Stour Valley Community College
  • Sybil Andrews Academy
  • Culford School
  • Ixworth Free School


The three-day residential programme, led by national educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust and funded by the local William and Ellen Vinten Trust, aimed to engage the students and provide them with the opportunity to learn about careers in engineering through a major project, company visit and presentations.


Students were given a unique insight into a famous local engineering company when they visited Vitec Videocom, to see all aspects of engineering in action; in a company founded by the Vinten family.



In teams, the 13 to 15 year old students worked on technical challenges led by engineers from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Thales.  The JLR design-and-make projects included designing, building and promoting an all-terrain motor-powered vehicle.  For Thales Derek Langley, the authority on airborne reconnaissance systems, created a new project based on a STEM activity that he delivers at Latitude.  This set up a challenging space rescue with many difficult constraints and new technical concepts that had to be mastered; most importantly it taught the students the importance of rapid concept development, experimentation and adaptation in order to attempt the mission.  As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, the students developed life skills such as team work, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentations.


The social programme included a reception and Gala dinner, with guests from local companies and the teachers from the schools involved.   Adeline-Fleur Flemming from ARM was the inspirational guest speaker.



The experience finished with students presenting their projects to guests and families.  Prizes were awarded to the best project teams by Jaguar Land Rover and Thales.

A prize was awarded by Adeline-Fleur Flemming for the best presentation.


Two outstanding students Jack Groom & Charlotte Hudson  were recognised and received a prize of their choice of Smallpeice residential courses.



The closing speech was given by Emma Devlin who attended the first Bury St Edmunds Engineering Experience in 2010 and is now in her last year studying Engineering at Cardiff.



David Youngman, Trustee of the Vinten Trust and lead for the event, said that he and his fellow trustees were delighted to continue to organise and fund this event for the fifth time. He added,


“Our aim is to open the eyes of our local students to the amazing and abundant possibilities of a career in Engineering, this event allows us to work with other brilliant organisations to deliver a focused and fun insight that can play a major part in setting the direction for students that attend.  It is brilliant to work with the Smallpeice Trust, who share our local goals at a national level, to encourage young students to consider a career in engineering.  Without them and the significant active involvement and support from the teams from Thales, Jaguar Land Rover and Vitec Video Com we would not be able to deliver such a unique event to the students of Bury St Edmunds who we hope to inspire.”

Emma Culey, Education Officer from The Smallpeice Trust commented, “ I have been so impressed by the enthusiasm, commitment and resilience shown by the students on this course. Through this programme, the students have developed their engineering, teamworking and social skills and I hope this opportunity has opened up the students eyes to how exciting a career in engineering can be. We are extremely grateful to the William and Ellen Vinten Trust for sponsoring this course.”

Established in 1982, the principal aim of the William and Ellen Vinten Trust is to pursue initiatives which increase the interest of school and college students in the Bury St Edmunds area in science and technology subjects. The goal is to increase the numbers of students who might consider careers in the engineering disciplines and to improve their levels of attainment

Founded by Dr Cosby Smallpeice in 1966, The Smallpeice Trust has grown successfully over the past 50 years, helping thousands of young people find a successful career in a multitude of disciplines within the industry from engineering materials, marine technology and naval architecture to nanotechnology and structural engineering. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, more than 50,000 students have attended a Smallpeice activity in the past year.



Vintner Trust – Nov 2017





Nick gears up for a prestigious national sailing championship in a boat he built himself

Nick Copsey, former Ely sports personality of the year, is studying ship science at the University of Southampton.

Two years ago he began building his own National 12 class dinghy, finishing the boat last summer.

Earlier this month, he displayed his two person, two sail racing dinghy. at a national boating show, the RYA, at Alexander Palace.

His dad Gerald said: “Many visitors were very impressed with the boat and amazed to discover that it was an amateur build.

“Around 8,000 visitors came to see the various designs of dinghy.

Read more »

Bill Vinten OBE: 1920 – 2015 – A life lived to the full…

Much has been written about Bill Vinten, who died on 8 November last year, mostly about his achievements within the lm and television industry – and quite rightly so. From a cameraman’s point of view, he was probably more in uential in the development of the television cameraman’s art and craft in its rst half-century, both in studios and OBs, than any other person. But this is far from the entire story of his life. Former GTC Secretary Dudley Darby met Bill on many occasions and writes here of the multiple sides to this extraordinarily energetic man, who retained an enviable zest for life right up until his passing at a very youthful 95.

Source: GTC’s Journal, Zerb.

Read more »

The bi annual Engineering Experience funded by the Vinten Trust

The bi annual Engineering Experience funded by the Vinten Trust, provided by the Smallpeice Trust and supported by Jaguar Landrover and Thales was held at Culford School in October.

This years’ experience followed a similar pattern to previous years with 50 students from years 9 and 10 of local schools attending the three day event.

On the first day an icebreaker activity was held whereby students, in groups, were tasked with designing and constructing a device which had the ability to carry an egg safely to the ground from a height of about 6 metres and then deliver the egg, undamaged, onto the ground, landing it within a clearly defined area.  The photographs show the winning design and the test launch and landing. Also on the first day students took advantage of a visit to Vitec Videocomm in Bury St Edmunds before spending the evening in sporting activities at the sports centre at the school.

The main purpose of the experience was for students to work together in groups on projects designing and constructing either a model vehicle or a speaker system. The photographs show various groups both during the design and construction phase and at the project presentation. The presentation is provided by each group to the other groups, staff attending the experience and parents of the students attending.

The evening of the second day was occupied by a formal dinner in Old Hall at Culford School where the students attend a reception and dinner with staff, trustees of the William & Ellen Vinten Trust and invited guests. The after dinner speaker for this event was Richard Clayton an engineer with Schlumberger. Other guests included Esther Bennett from the Institute of Physics and Kevin Stenson, Chief Executive of the Smallpeice Trust. A disco for the students followed the dinner and speeches.

Following the project presentation on the final day of the experience prizes were awarded to the team giving the best presentation and four students were selected to be awarded prizes, donated by the William & Ellen Vinten Trust and the Smallpeice Trust, for their attitude, enthusiasm and team working during the experience. The photographs show the best presentation prizewinners with Esther Bennett (IoP) and the Vinten/Smallpeice prizewinners with David Youngman (Vinten Trustee)

On the final day a careers and education buffet lunch was provided which was supported by local businesses and education providers. The photographs show some of the stands at the buffet lunch.

First BSE Imagineering Club

We are delighted to report on the success of the town’s first Imagineering Club which is up and running at St James Middle School, funded by the trust.

A group of enthusiastic Year 7 and 8 pupils are, this term making an electric car in the first of three projects in the year-long after school club. Led by Tracey Hunt, Head of Design at St James, and supported by sixth form Vinten Ambassadors from Bury St Edmunds County Upper School and by a STEM  Ambassador (encouraging Science , Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)  from Thales, one of the town’s two “Vinten” companies, the students are learning useful new skills as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the world of engineering. The Vinten Trust is keen to support other Imagineering Clubs and Middle School staff can gain more information by contacting the clerk.


Imagineering Clubs

The Trust is launching a new initiative this year to encourage the town’s middle schools to set up Imagineering Clubs for their 11 year old pupils. The Imagineering Foundation has produced some superb kits and programmes for “young engineers” to work at and we are supporting this enterprise by funding any middle school in our area keen to take on setting up a club. For more information click on