Celebrating a long and incredible life
Friday, 10 November 2023
Jim Runnalls - an unwavering spirit

It was a good and fitting turnout on Friday as NEMA joined with family and friends in celebrating the long and incredible life of Jim Runnalls, the man who made NEMA what it is today!

Purchased by him in 1990 as Nordale spring works, we have grown into a multifaceted, diverse and skilled supplier of motors, motor generators, actuators and the repair thereof as well as continuing to embrace our roots of spring and pressing manufacture under his stewardship.

Whilst Jim retired some years ago, he was in constant contact with the company and up until the restrictions of COVID in 2020, made regular visits to us in Rochdale all the way from his, glorious hand-built retirement home in Urçay, central France.

Managing Director Andrew Wilding shared the following at his memorial:

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about a man that has been a big influence on my life and everyone here today.

We are all here today to celebrate the incredible life of Jim Runnalls.

I have been struggling for the words to describe Jim and I have decided upon a force of nature, with an incredible zest for life and a source of inspiration.

Jim’s journey through life was a testament to his unwavering spirit and determination. He faced adversity with courage and embraced every opportunity with enthusiasm. He was a man of many talents and passions, with his love of antiques, trains, aircraft, golf and cycling, all of which he threw himself into without fear of failure.
We all can recall his many stories; I often told him he should write a book about his life and adventures.
From being bombed and sleeping through the house collapsing about him as a small child in Coventry during World War II to gaining a scholarship, to doing flight testing during his time at Armstrong Whitworth, which sounded pretty dangerous at times!
He then spent a few years travelling the country for Webster Bennett in his Morris 1000 with a hot water bottle and blanket to stay warm, sending his sales report on the mail train each evening in the days before mobile phones and the internet.
After starting his own firm, US Aerospace supplies, from his front room in Holmfirth, he travelled the USA and meet with Randy Snyder, going on the help create WESCO aerospace, which became a massive worldwide company.

I feel sure that his proudest achievement has always been NEMA though, purchased from two gentlemen called Walter and Dennis in 1990 as Nordale, it has since become a leading supplier to the aerospace world from its humble beginnings, all thanks to Jim.

Whilst we will all miss Jim, we also remember the profound impact he had on us whilst he was with us and raise a toast to a glorious and exciting life, we thank him for all he has done in establishing NEMA and pledge to do our best to preserve the legacy he left here in the quiet town of Rochdale!