The Worshipful Company of Horners Annual Awards

The Horners promote excellence in the plastics industry through the five annual awards presented below:

Horners’ Award for Plastics Innovation and Design.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner. After it had ‘adopted’ plastics, the company introduced an award to encourage good design in plastics, these materials being the logical successor to the horn.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner.

Could you win the Horners Award?

Any outstanding product, machine or process could be eligible to win the prestigious Horners Award. Entries are judged from the viewpoint of their significance in the United Kingdom through the imagination and appropriate use of plastics. The Rt.Hon. The Lord Mayor of London is Patron of the Award and presents it to the winners at the Horners’ Annual Banquet in The Mansion House.


The winner was Plastipak & LifeSafe Technologies 5-in-1 hand held Fire Extinguisher.

The 5-in-1 hand held Fire Extinguisher is light-weight, environmentally friendly, and can be used in place of bulky, metal fire extinguishers. It is accessible compact and tackles 5 fire types: electrical, textiles, paper/card, cooking oil and petrol/diesel.

This outstanding product has single-handily revolutionised the global extinguisher market.

William Lunn of Plartpak & LifeSafe technologies was invited to the Horners Banquet at Mansion House on Thursday 7th October to accept the Award on behalf of his Company.

Entries for next year’s award can be made online at

Bottlemakers Award

In 1467 The Worshipful Company of Horners’ merged with the Bottlemakers Company (who made bottles from leather) and in October 2002, at the Interplas Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, they announced a new annual Award for Bottlemaking. Entries for this award must be a plastic bottle, jar or hollow container, made by any process including extrusion blow, injection blow, injection stretch blow, injection moulding, rotational moulding or vacuum forming.

The entry must have significant UK content in Design, Materials or Manufacture and a proven record of commercial success.

The annual Award consists of a leather bottle made in this century by traditional methods, flanked by two silver-rimmed horn beakers, all mounted on an oak plinth. The Award that the winner retains is a smaller leather bottle, also mounted on an oak plinth which is suitably engraved.

Bottlemakers Award Winner 2021

The winner was Zotefoams PLC for its ReZorce Circular Packaging , a fully recyclable mono-material beverage carton with barrier properties that meet  or exceed all food industry standards. It is the first viable alternative  to composite barrier packaging. Life cycle analysis shows producing, filling and transporting  a ReZorce carton requires five times less energy  than conventional aseptic cartons. ReZorce also requires 11 times less water and provided it is recycled, has a 50% overall lower global warming potential. It is made with up to 70% recycled polymer and could reach full circularity in the future when food grade recycled polymer becomes available.

Design Innovation in Plastics – Student Design Award

Established in 1985, Design Innovation In Plastics is now the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. It is an opportunity for design students to make a name for themselves, but also for universities to raise their profile as institutes of excellence in this field.

Around 300 students from 20 universities register for the competition every year with many of these universities having now incorporated Design Innovation in Plastics into their coursework.

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) and the Worshipful Company of Horners,Design Innovation in Plastics is headlined sponsored by Covestro and also supported by market leaders in the fields of design and innovation.

Both IOM3 and the Worshipful Company of Horners play important roles in the field of education, and this award was set up to encourage plastics design innovation and best practice in our future product designers.

Details of the brief for entrants for the 2022 award can be found by clicking here.


University student creates solution to universal problem of pesticide spray drift.

 A student from Brunel university has claimed top prize in the 2021 Design Innovation in Plastics competition, with a product which will help reduce pesticide spray drift.

Pol Blanch designed his product to help people in the developing world, after being inspired by his interest in agriculture and the rural issue of how to apply pesticides safely to vital crops.

The product, ‘D-Shield’, is a semi-translucent, foldable shield that minimises spray drift, blocking pesticides from drifting during application.  The shield, made from low density, heat resistant polypropylene, is designed to be carried by individuals using backpack sprayers, as is often the case in developing countries, where plots are smaller and the expense of agricultural machinery is prohibitive.

D-Shield was judged to be outstanding in its design and application, as well as addressing a fundamental problem in the environment, in line with the competition’s 2021 theme of ‘Design for a Natural World’.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said: “Pol applied design thinking and conducted extensive research to find a cost-effective solution to a universal problem that threatens both our society and wildlife across the world.  His research recognises the scale of the problem and how pesticide overspray damages the natural environment.  His product is well designed, and we believe that with some refinement, it is good enough to be commercialised.”

Pol Blanch said: “I have worked very hard to create this product and am delighted it has received such a positive response.  The Design Innovation in Plastics competition has helped instil the value of sustainable design and I have gained skills in polymer-based product design along with a good understanding of its suitable manufacturing processes. It has been really rewarding to take a disposable product category and create a reusable solution – this is a trend I would love to continue in my future career.”

The runners up were…

In second place was Christopher Farrell, from Technological University Dublin, who designed ‘ClearWater’, a hand-held, user-friendly water quality device to test for the presence of nitrates, phosphates and sulphates in open water.  Christopher used a combination of polypropylene, polycarbonate and silicone rubber in the making of his product, to give it good barrier qualities, chemical resistivity and resistance to weathering.

In third came Finlay McEwan, (Glasgow School of Art) with Equipoise, a reusable plastic gas canister for outdoor cooking, with a cleverly designed stand for stability on rough terrain. The gas canister for his product is made of Ultem PEI plastic for its very high strength and stability, while the stand uses polycarbonate for its high strength and impact resistance.

Highly commended prizes go to Euan Gibson-Smith – Glasgow School of Art, Pradip Gurung – Brunel University, and Andrei Petrar – London South Bank University.

Polymer Apprentice of The Year 2021

The Polymer Apprentice of the year Award 2021,  is NOW OPEN.

The award is for apprentices involved in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role associated with polymer processing or polymer/additive manufacturing. Nominations can be made either by the apprentice themselves, their employers or training providers. In order to be considered for the award the person must:

  • Be engaged in – or have completed in the year up until December 2021 – a full accredited apprenticeship programme at Level 3;
  • Have had sufficient time in their apprenticeship to be able to demonstrate quantifiable achievement, both academic and in the workplace

Nominations can be submitted up to Friday 19th November 2021. An adjudicating panel will assess the finalists via remote interview and the winner will be notified by Christmas 2021. The winner will be invited to attend the Livery Companies Skills Council Apprentice Certificate Ceremony in February 2022, in London, where they will receive a prize of £500 and a ceremonial drinking horn, along with the Horners’ Apprentice Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London.

For more information on the award, and how to apply please click here

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award 2020

The Worshipful Company of Horners and British Plastics Federation Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award aims to recognise the commitment and achievement of apprentices in the polymer industry and to encourage and support them in their development. As the award is intended to promote the skills particularly associated with our industry, it is restricted to apprentices employed in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role associated with polymer processing, or polymer or additive manufacture. There is a first prize of a ceremonial drinking horn and £500, and a second prize of £250, with Highly Commended candidates receiving a prize of £100 and a Certificate of Commendation. The winner and any other candidate considered to have a similar level of achievement are awarded the Horners’/BPF Polymer Apprentice Certificate (under the Livery Company Skills Council Master Certificates Scheme).

The quality of entries was impressively high, and a shortlist of four candidates was interviewed by a judging panel consisting of representatives from the Horners’ and the BPF Education and Skills Committee. The judges were looking, not just for a high standard of practical and classroom achievement, but also for evidence of strong commitment and personal initiative, as well as for achievement outside the workplace.

Two entries were of exceptional quality: Emily Harris, a Mechatronics Engineering apprentice at plastics recyclers Plasgran (Berry Global) became our Polymer Apprentice of the Year, with Harry Gissing, an Engineering Maintenance apprentice at packaging injection moulders UCP Zeller Plastik (Berry Global) as runner-up. Deciding between the two was very difficult, and both were deemed worthy of receiving the Horners’/BPF Polymer Apprentice Certificate.

Certificates of Commendation were awarded to two other strong candidates: Megan Denham, Toolmaking apprentice at medical device manufacturers Owen Mumford Ltd, and Lavinia Stevenson, Design Engineering apprentice at toolmakers Mason Pinder (Polypipe).

Emily and Harry would normally have been invited to the Livery Companies Skills Council Award Ceremony in the City, where a number of livery companies’ award Master, Journeyman and Apprentice Certificates for high achievement at the three levels of career and skills development in their associated industries. Here, they would have received their Polymer Apprentice Certificate from the Lord Mayor. For obvious reasons, this ceremony could not go ahead, but it is hoped that, all being well, Emily and Harry will be able to attend next year.

The fact that three out of the four top apprentices were women is greatly to be welcomed and demonstrates the training and career opportunities open to women in the polymer industries (and indeed in engineering). In the cause of encouraging recruitment to technical and engineering roles in the industries, the BPF issued a press release, highlighting the achievements of Emily, Megan and Lavinia, on March 8th – International Women’s Day (link here).

Emily Harris: winner of the Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award 2020 and recipient of the BPF/Horners’ Polymer Apprentice  Certificate.

Emily is a second-year Mechatronics Engineering apprentice at Plasgran (part of Berry Global), plastics recyclers in Wimblington, Cambridgeshire. She has progressed rapidly, with an eagerness to learn, both in the workplace and at college, where she has achieved distinctions and completed her project well ahead of time. She has taken ownership of her learning plan, seeking support in order to excel in areas (such as machining) which she found more difficult. She has shown great initiative, notably in the design and construction of a control panel for a granule washing machine after identifying the problems (particularly safety) and making a costed proposal, with the result of much improved efficiency and safety. She has taken other initiatives based on her learning, including a recommendation for a “5S” (continuous improvement) activity to improve workshop layout and a risk assessment on a working area to highlight safety issues, and she remains involved in site improvement projects outside of her role and responsibilities. Outside work, she assists a local mental health charity, including practical work (digging pathways, laying sleepers and planting bushes) for a „Wellbeing” garden (also taking responsibility for supplying the PPE equipment for fellow-workers!).

Harry Gissing, Runner-Up

Harry is a fourth-year Engineering Maintenance apprentice at UCP Zeller Plastik (part of Berry Global), injection moulders of plastics closures in Norwich. Harry has achieved his level 3 qualifications in both Operations & Maintenance and Mechanical Manufacturing (machining) and is now studying for HNC/HND Mechanical Engineering. He has developed a broad range of skills and has consistently demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment and an excellent attitude. He led a team of apprentices that completed a project to design and manufacture a functioning model of an injection moulding machine for use in promoting jobs in the industry to young people. He was also part of a four-person team who were runners-up in the 2018 Cranfield National Apprenticeship Competition to design and manufacture a Mars rover vehicle. Harry is a highly regarded member of the maintenance team and on several occasions, in the absence of the senior engineer, has led machine rebuilds, which were carried out to a high standard. Outside work, Harry is a keen hockey player, representing England at under-20 level, and he has rapidly attained a golf handicap of 13. He has also attended Outward Bounds team building exercises in the Lake District, once as a team member and once as a mentor.


Meg Denham, Certificate of Commendation

Meg joined Owen Mumford Ltd, manufacturers of medical devices and disposables in Chipping Norton, as a Tooling apprentice in 2016. Throughout her apprenticeship, colleagues have been impressed by her work ethic and engineering application. A focus on education is evident in the qualifications achieved. They include 3 NVQs, and Distinctions in all modules throughout her level 3 BTEC. Thereafter, Meg achieved a Distinction in a Mechanical Engineering HNC and is now doing a Mechanical Engineering B.Eng (Hons) with Coventry University. She has undertaken various placements within the Owen Mumford organisation. Her great ability, detailed knowledge and positive work ethic are much valued by the team. In addition, Meg was an Ambassador for Women in Engineering and has provided support at careers fairs to encourage applications for future engineers. Meg has used her engineering knowledge outside the work environment, in maintaining her Land Rover and 1970‘s VW Beetle.



Lavinia Stevenson, Certificate of Commendation

Lavinia is a 4th year Design Engineering apprentice at Mason Pinder (Polypipe), toolmakers in Doncaster. She displays a high level of self-motivation, challenging herself and those around her in a very positive manner and is highly thought of by her colleagues. Since starting her apprenticeship, she has undertaken several varied tasks and projects. A particular example was the redesign and planning of the mould shop floor plan at the Eglington plant, a project running over an eight-month time period. Her input was critical and saved both cost and time by obviating the need to use sub-contractors. She is keen to advance her further education and has recently completed a BTEC level 3. Whilst highly committed to her education and career, she finds a good work/life balance within her ranging friendship groups.




The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

(previously known as the Jewellery Award)
This award, given by the Horners in conjunction with the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (London Metropolitan University), is founded on charitable and citizen based motivation to raise social awareness and support charitable activities. This annual award is for the most effective use of plastics and/or horn in a range of durable, wearable jewellery.

Students are invited to submit for subsequent charitable auction, wearable jewellery (using plastics and/or horn) which appeals to the charitable supporters of the Livery.

Students are encouraged to design with an environmental mindset in relation to the choice of materials, recyclable materials and waste. Stock jewellery findings (e.g. broche pins) may be used if integral to the design.

Consideration is given to a practical and visually effective method of displaying the jewellery for auction/sale/delivery at the Master’s Charity Evening. Submission for judging should include one A2 Concept Board and the finalised artefact.

Judging Criteria

The judges look for:

  • Imaginative design and material use
  • Wearability and durability
  • Suitability in relation to target audience
  • Concept, display and presentation

The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

2019 Winner

This year’s winner of the Jewellery Award is Julia Charters, with a piece entitled ‘Box of Frogs’. The small box (about 6cm high) is made from horn and silver. Congratulations to Julia.

In the past the winning item has been auctioned off for charity. This was the case again this year and was sold by auction  after the Carol Service Dinner on 19th December 2019 and raised £700 for the Master’s Charity.


View Previous Winners