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The Worshipful Company of Horners

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.

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.

Horners’ Award for Plastics Innovation and Design – 2023 Winner

Taking home the Horners award for Plastics Innovation and Design is: Suscons’ Emergency Relief Shelter. Their shelter is made from 75% recycled PVC window and door frames and can be 100% recycled after its 10 year lifespan without significant loss in physical properties, creating a closed loop humanitarian society. They can be quickly erected, do not require skilled labour, and provide not only emergency shelter but also longer-term temporary accommodation considering their lifespan.

As the Horners Committee found it to be a practical innovated solution to long term displaced families and homeless people not just in the UK but globally, they also chose to accord Sucsons with the David Williams Award (presented to those who make an outstanding contribution to society through plastics).

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 For Packaging

This year’s winner of the Bottlemakers Award was Berry Superfos with their Closed Loop Paint Containers, in which waste paint is collected and re-engineered into new paint, while the plastic containers in which the paint was originally packed are recycled into new paint cans for the recovered paint.

This reduces the environmental impact of both the paint and its packaging through the reduction of waste product sent to landfill and the carbon emissions associated with incineration, saving approximately 2.8 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne of plastic not incinerated.


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.

Design Innovation in Plastics 2024 finalists announced

Exceptional quality of entries cited by judges

Six finalists have been announced for this year’s Design Innovation in Plastics competition, with judges praising the “exceptional” quality of this year’s entries.

Design Innovation in Plastics is the longest running competition of its kind for university students in Europe.  It is headline sponsored by Covestro, the global polymer materials manufacturer, The Worshipful Company of Horners, The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and supported by leading organisations in the fields of product design and injection moulding.

This year students were invited to design independently powered products made primarily of plastics, capable of being used off-grid and targeted at either the domestic or sports and leisure markets.

Answering this year’s brief of ‘Life off-grid – independently powered products’, each finalist brought a prototype of their product and explained to the judges the research and material selection as well as other important considerations such as innovation, sustainability and cost which had gone into their design.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, commented: “It’s always a challenge when we judge the entries presented by our six finalists, and this year was no different – the quality was extremely high.  The presentations were professional, succinct, and covered all the criteria of the brief.

“Our finalists have really thought through their designs and materials, and it’s very evident that the work they did at their training course, kindly hosted by Sumitomo (SHI) Demag as part of their prize, has paid dividends.  Some of them opted to tweak their designs to reflect what they learned there.

“In short, we have six very good finalists, and we will look forward to announcing the results at the award ceremony on July 5th!”

The six students who have made the final are:

Gargi Agrawalla, Loughborough University:  Ear Boost, a product for simultaneously dehumidifying and charging cochlear implants.

Brandon Hopkins, London South Bank University: Saltbuoy, a salt-water powered data buoy

Jake Lee, Glasgow School of Art: SkinTemp, a core temperature sensor to keep people safe in cold water

Jem Mitchell, Glasgow School of Art: Sentree, a sonic deterrent for trees to protect them from overgrazing.

Isabel Payne, Glasgow School of Art: SafiCase, a self-powered case for sterilising a menstrual cup with minimal water

Joe Shade, De Montfort University: Beehive, a smart beehive for monitoring and providing information about the wellbeing of the bees.

Aside from the winner’s prize, the other award candidates also receive cash prizes along with placements or industrial courses and a year’s membership of IOM3.

DIP is also supported by work placement sponsors, Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and Sumitomo Demag, and media partners British Plastics & Rubber, Mould Technology and Materials World.


Polymer Apprentice of The Year 2023

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Worshipful Company of Horners are pleased to announce that Samuel Johnston of Colloids Ltd has won the 2023 Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award. The competition aims to recognise the commitment and achievement of apprentices in the polymer industry.

The award was open for any apprentices involved in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role nominated by their employers or training provider.

After the initial nominations in October, Sam Johnston, Colloids Ltd Laboratory and Regulatory Apprentice, was chosen as a finalist. The next stage in the process required Sam to be assessed by an adjudicating panel and in December he was asked to speak about his achievements, challenges and plans and ambitions for the future in front of the five judges.

Sam’s colleagues have been impressed by his dedication to excellence, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Having consistently demonstrated a commitment to his role, Sam has added value to the business and earnt the respect and admiration of his peers and supervisors very early on.  He has contributed positively to the overall productivity of the team.

Sam was awarded a £500 cash prize, a ceremonial drinking horn and a formal invitation to Mansion House where he received a Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London.

Nikki Thompson, HR Manager for the Colloids Group states: “We are so proud of Sam’s achievements, this really sets the standards for our apprenticeship programme here at Colloids Ltd”.

This year’s runner up, Coopervision’s Kelly McClory, also received a certificate and a £200 cash prize. She has completed the PIABC Level 3 Diploma in Polymer Processing followed by achieving the Science Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Standard. Kelly was nominated by Solutions 4 Polymers, who provide apprenticeship provision to the polymer sector.

The judges were impressed with her determination and commitment. Initially apprehensive about her ability to complete the apprenticeship, Kelly took control of her own learning, studying mathematics on her own initiative. Her new confidence and technical ability mean she now plays a key role within the department responsible for tooling insert manufacture, which is a key aspect of contact lens production. Kelly deals with technical matters, leads a team of technicians, and consults with several other departments.

Chairman of Apprentice Award Committee, Ian Paterson (of The Worshipful Company of the Horners) states: “The standard of entries for the 2023 award was of a particularly high level giving the judges a difficult task. Sam is a worthy winner showing a real dedication to excellence, drive and a passion to develop his knowledge and skills. I am delighted with the success of Sam and runner up Kelly in this year’s award and congratulate them both on their achievement.”

BPF Director General Philip Law states: “The Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award is a great way to shine a light on apprentices who have excelled in their role. As the industry looks at ways to narrow the skills gap, apprenticeships play a crucial role and benefit both individuals and employers. I congratulate our very worthy winner and runner up from this year’s competition.”

The judges also decided that special praise should be given to this year’s ‘highly commended’ Dawid Lipa from Counterplas Ltd and James Nguyen from Berry.

The BPF, in conjunction with The Worshipful Company of the Horners, will re-open this competition shortly as it begins its search for this year’s winner.


About the Polymer Apprentice of the Year 

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).


These Awards consist of a jewellery competition and a grant. The Horners aim to use these to promote the use of horn and plastics in jewellery and, in particular, the craft of working with horn. In addition, this award is founded on charitable and citizen-based motivation to raise social awareness and support charitable activities. These annual awards are for the most effective use of horn and/or polymers in a range of durable, wearable jewellery.

The Jewellery Awards have been running for several years and have produced a variety of excellent pieces; many have been sold at the Horners Charity Dinners. They are now integrated into the Goldsmiths jewellery awards.

The judges look for:

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

Above, on the right, are examples of entries.

The 2023 Award Winners.

This year the winner of the Seniors Gold Awards was Andrew Howard, a lecturer in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham City Institute of Jewellery, fashion and Textiles.

Andrew’s winning entry, entitled “A load of old Bu-ffalo” was a horn brooch emblazoned with gold and silver. Andrew commented after the presentation that he had enjoyed working in horn and would be encouraging its use more broadly.

The Silver Award in the Junior Section went to Samantha Sloane for her Crab Cluster ring, using polymers to cast crab and mussel shells, which were moulted on a cast bronze base. Samantha categorises her work as wandering jewellery, as it reflects on her past, present and future lived experiences of wandering the coastlines of the Scottish West.

The whole Awards Ceremony was streamed ‘live’ and can be viewed at The Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards 2023  but here is the section showing the presentations of the two Horners awards:

The Scholarship

The Worshipful Company of Horners offer a grant in Jewellery, Fashion and Decorative Items for innovation in horn. This will be awarded to a successful applicant who shows they are able to produce exceptional pieces and demonstrate great potential to expand crafting with horn in the near future.

This Scholarship has recently been introduced and has produced excellent pieces of work. The recent chalice and ring shown are examples of the pieces produced to date.

The David Williams award was created in 2022 and awarded for the first time in that year. It was created in memory of Past Master (2011) David Williams, a committed Horner whose contribution to the Company was immense.

It is awarded ‘for social contribution through plastics.’

The novel design of the base and stand around which the drinking horn is mounted is both modern and striking.

THE 2022 inaugural WINNER was Zara King,  whose design of the  EasyMode, a re-usable bedpan for Hospitals, also won the Student Design in Plastics Award.

In 2023 the Award was given to Stephen Ford of Suscons for their Emergency Shelter; also the winner of the Award for Plastics Design & Innovation.