In memory of Robert H. Lench | FASTENER EURASIA MAGAZINE
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In memory of Robert H. Lench

Marco A. Guerritore
Editor in Chief of Italian Fasteners Magazine

When I received the tragic news, I could not believe it for a moment and then a deep and sincere sense of pain swept over me.
Robert H. Lench left us on 22 January 2020 at the age of 89 years due to a sudden worsening of his illness.

For some time now, perhaps because of his state of health, Robert had withdrawn from the daily operations, while maintaining a certain connection with the EIFI, which was his reason for living.

Robert belonged to a family with a long tradition in the English fastener industry and ran his family business “Thomas William Lench Ltd”, based in Warley, West Midland, until he was forced to close it due to changes and uncertainties in the market.
His in-depth knowledge of the fastener industry enabled him to skilfully hold the position of EIFI Chairman,  pulling it out of the impasse in which he found it.

Robert spared no physical and economic effort to promote operational contacts with the organisations of manufacturers: from the USA, Japan, Taiwan, just to name the main ones. He also worked hard to expand and strengthen the EIFI by including new national fastener associations in Europe, such as those of Spain, Poland and others. Under his presidency, the EIFI set up the structure that still characterises it today.

He always paid particular attention to relations with the European institutions and first and foremost with the EU Commission and other important offices where he had the opportunity to promote and successfully manage important initiatives.
Robert Lench was an affable, likable man and an excellent speaker who knew how to express himself very well in both personal and business meetings. He had the gift of knowing how to manage and resolve the tensions that can inevitably arise in the context of an international association.

He had to rely on his diplomatic sense on numerous occasions in order to resolve unavoidable disputes within the EIFI caused by commercial competitiveness.
His natural cordiality and kindness did not mean that he was submissive, on the contrary, Robert was strong willed and decisive.

I remember that we were at an annual EIFI meeting. The discussions were over and all of us in attendance were heading to the business lunch room when I saw Robert in pain from a sciatic nerve issue, hunched over his walking stick. I approached him with the clear intention of helping him. Robert sensed what I was about to propose. He looked at me sideways and with a strong gesture of his hand, almost indignantly, pushed me away, clearly making me understand that he did not need and did not want any kind of help. This was Robert H. Lench.

An important piece of the history of the EIFI and the European Fasteners industry disappears with his passing. Robert H. Lench’s funeral was held on 7 February 2020 at St. Cassian’s Church in Chaddesley Corbett.