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2018 Engineering Experience

We are pleased to announce the next bi annual Engineering Experience funded by the Vinten Trust, provided by the Smallpeice Trust which will be held at Culford School from Monday 21st October 2019 – Wednesday 23rd October 2019.


Form more information please feel free to contact us here.


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.

Recent Grants

One of the key aims of the Trust is to provide financial assistance towards capital projects in West Suffolk Schools. A number of such grants have been made during 2011, two notable examples have been:

The trustees agreed a grant of £2,500.00 to St Benedicts School towards the supply of a new laser cutter.

County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds who were given a grant  by the trust this year of £11,000 to help with the refurbishment of the school’s laboratory facilities. The money has been put towards changing the layout of a classroom to make better use of available space, decorating the room and providing computer equipment.

Thurston Community College also benefited from a grant of £12,000 (over two years) towards the updating of their physics laboratories. This badly needed work has been long awaited and it is hoped that the grant will help to progress the work at a time when funds are stretched.

Engineering Experience will be held at Culford School in October 2015

Advance notice that the next Engineering Experience will be held at Culford School in October 2015. The exact dates will be made available nearer the time and local upper school staff will again be asked to select the students that will be offered the opportunity to attend the Experience.

Bursaries awarded to seven students

At their meeting the trustees awarded bursaries to seven students to assist them with the cost of their first degree. The subjects being studied varied widely and included Electrical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Electronic Engineering with Nanotechnology and Ship Science.

The trust helped sponsor a display at the Latitude Festival

The trust helped sponsor a display at the Latitude Festival which centred on astronomy which was designed to engage with budding scientists and engineers as young as five or six.

During the Latitude Festival  in July 2014, Derek Langley, provided a presentation to young festival goers entitled Our Tiny World. The presentation involved an interactive tour through the solar system starting with the atmosphere of earth and then an imaginary trip through the solar system, stopping off at Titan to gather ice crystals. Visitors to the tent were also provided with a model of Saturn to make and take away with them.

Photos of the Latitude event;

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