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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 announces 2024 brief

Products that don’t require conventional power sources to function are being sought by the Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition for its 2024 award.

Creative designers interested in working with plastics have been asked to design a product that can work off-grid, using anything from solar, wind, tidal, thermal, kinetic, or bio and mechanical energy sources.

Dates are:

  • March 31, entry deadline
  • April 12 – preliminary judging – the judges will go through all the entries and select six finalists.  The finalists will be announced a week or so later.
  • May 8-9   The six finalists go to Sumitomo Demag for an injection moulding training course, which is part of their prize
  • May 24 – Final judging – the six finalists will present their products to the panel of judges, in London
  • July 5 –  Announcement of results at the award ceremony, London.

To read more about the brief, click here.

The Winners of the 2023 DIP competition

Many congratulations to Christopher Kenny, a student from Technological University Dublin, who has won this year’s Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition with an ingenious bathroom item.

 Chris was announced as the winner at the award ceremony at Painters’ Hall, London.

A third-year, product design undergraduate, he takes away the first prize of £1,000, plus a placement or course with a DIP sponsor, a year’s membership to the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), and an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Horners. 

This year’s contestants were asked to design a product for the kitchen or bathroom.

Chris’ winning product is ‘Flossie’, a teeth cleaning device which allows people with hand dexterity conditions to floss their teeth more easily.  It utilises flossing sticks and a specially designed gripping handle.  Chris used a combination of ABS, polyurethane and polypropylene in the different components of his product.

 Chairman of the judging panel, Richard Brown, said: “This is a great product which is inspired by a real-life challenge.  We were impressed not just by the clever design, but by the user testing carried out by Chris, to show how it can help people with lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. He also gave us a detailed analysis of the product manufacturing costs, as well as considering its marketing.”

 Chris said the inspiration for his product came from wanting to help his brother, who has cerebral palsy in his right hand, and said he was very proud that other people also liked his idea.  “It is a real honour to be recognised in this competition,” he said.  “I definitely want to work with materials and mechanisms in the future, as designing for usability really excites me. This project educated me on the constraints around designing plastic components but also the unique properties that plastics have to offer.”

The judges awarded second place to Kyle Farquhar, Edinburgh Napier University, with his product ‘PlateMate’, a foldable plate which shows children how to create a variety of Mexican and other international dishes, in a more fun way. In third place came Scott Rutherford, also from Edinburgh Napier, with his ‘Rotary Bottle Opener’, which helps people with hand weaknesses to open twist top bottles more easily.

Highly Commended awards go to:

  • Freddy Blake, Bournemouth University, with ‘Bubble Buddy’, a bathroom soap dispenser and hand wash device in one package, which makes hand washing more fun for children. 

  • Teresa Zheng, Loughborough University, with ‘Sianel’ a portable shelf which enables people to change their colostomy bags more easily.

A sixth student, James Forrest-Smith, was presented with the inaugural Robin Jones Award. Robin was a key member of the DIP Committee who sadly died last year. A tutor at London South Bank University, he always passionately shared his presentation expertise to the finalists to help them showcase their products in the best possible way. This award therefore recognises both the skill in achieving this as well as the quality of the design. 

James, from Northumbria University, created ‘STEPA’ a fully adjustable stool for children to use in the kitchen, encouraging them to get involved in kitchen activities.

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 2022

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Worshipful Company of Horners are pleased to announce that Kaelan Hurrell of Berry has won the 2022 Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award.

Kaelan is currently an Apprentice Toolmaker at Berry who is currently completing a Level 3 Machine and Maintenance apprenticeship course. Kaelan is responsible for tool grinding, hand bench work, manual and CNC machining. These are all skills which enable him to produce high quality mould tools for extrusion and injection stretch blown tools. He proved that he is a LEAN thinker when he provided process improvements which included material utilisation and led to savings in stock material of approximately £2000 per year. Furthermore, during the interview process, Kaelan impressed the judges with his ambition and technical skills.

Chairman of Apprentice Award Committee, Ian Paterson (of The Worshipful Company of the Horners) states:

“Kaelan is an excellent candidate and a well-deserved winner. His ambition, interpersonal and technical skills were very apparent. I congratulate him on his significant achievements.”

Kaelans manager, Berry’s Toolroom and Tuber Manager Kurt Knights, added:

“Kaelan deserves the award on merit for his relentless hard work and determination. Despite facing some significant obstacles and challenges, both at work and at home, Kaelan’s positive attitude and unwavering resilience has allowed him to overcome and deliver exceptional work, every single time.”

Kaelan was awarded a £500 cash prize, a ceremonial drinking horn and and received his Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London at his Mansion House residence in March 2023.

This year’s runner up, Berry’s Jake Williams,  also received his certificate and a £200 cash prize. Williams impressed the judges with his attention to detail and focus to ensure he understands all the technical aspects of his role. All the judges agreed that the standard of entrants for 2022 was outstanding and have decided on special praise should be given to this year’s Highly Commended, Joshua Clark from Reliance Worldwide Corporation.

The Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award shines a spotlight on the outstanding commitment and achievements of apprentices within the polymer industry. The BPF, in conjunction with The Worshipful Company of the Horners, will re-open this competition in the near future as it begins its search for the 2023 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.