Ian Furniss, steel innovator and cyclist

Ian Furniss

Ian Furniss, who has died suddenly at 52, was managing director at Furniss and White Foundries in Sheffield, running the company’s base on the North Anston Trading Estate.

A world expert in steel casting, he was an innovator who helped revolutionise the process - and remained passionate about the Yorkshire steel foundry industry.

His father, Gordon, had been melt shop manager at English Steel in Sheffield before joining International Nickel and then forming his own foundry in 1980.

Ian joined the company in 1987, having previously moved to Bawtry when his father joined Ashlow Foundry on the site of the present-day Meadowhall centre.

A former pupil of Hayfield School, he had gained a degree in metallurgy at Sheffield Polytechnic. He married Kim in 1994 and their son, Ben, was born in 1996.

A keen cyclist, he was part of the winning 2005 National 12 Hour Team, riding for Doncaster Wheelers. He raced in the nine-day Tour of Ireland in a team with John Tanner, against some of Europe’s top professional cyclists, and was a regular top five finisher in both road and time trial races up and down the UK.

He also cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in five days, at an average of 185 miles a day, for a charity event.

It had been his ambition to climb the highest peak on every continent - the seven summits. He achieved two, Aconcagua in Argentina, and Elbrus, in Russia, both of which he climbed with his nephew, Sam.

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