Ray Dainton: 1939 – 2023

August 29, 2023

Ray Dainton, aged 84, one of the BDA’s earliest and fervent supporters through his massive contribution and commitment to training, qualifications and apprenticeship, passed away this August, in Westhoughton, Lancashire. A drilling industry character, his life was filled with many levels of achievement both professionally and personally. Commitment, passion and hard work were his hallmarks in all that he did.

Born Raymond Thomas Dainton to a Lancashire family in July 1939, his early working days were factory based as a machinist. In January 1964 he switched to site investigation drilling and was promoted to lead driller 5 months later on 2nd May on an Edeco cable percussion rig. He was promoted to Rotary core-driller in 1967 working an Edeco Stratadrill 36 and Boyles rigs. In 1973 he became the top rotary driller employee at Subsoil Surveys operating a Dando 250 top drive rig. Ray then formed a site investigation drilling company, Manchester Geo-Technical Ltd., until 1986 when Rotary Test Drilling Ltd (RTD) was formed. No coincidence that RTD were his initials! With the BDA having been founded in 1976 he became a member.

Ray had benefited, as many other small site investigation contractors, from the expanding market and absence of the majors who were pursuing large contracts abroad. This enabled him to buy Marshes Farm, Westhoughton, his home and business centre for life. Sheep farming was added to his skills!

In 1990 the BDA introduced site investigation driller Accreditation. Ray was persuaded by Barry Johnson, BDA’s first Secretary, in 1991 to set up the first drilling training school. Or perhaps Ray promoted the idea? This was a milestone. Our drilling industry had nothing in terms of training or qualification before, other than learn on the job. Ray became a BDA Accreditation Assessor and set up RTD (Training and Accreditation) Ltd. to run alongside his contract company. His thirst for industry improvement, particularly safety, and driller recognition was paramount. Interestingly the drilling school also attracted consultant and overseas attendance.

In 1999 the BDA with CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) embarked on creating NVQ Land Drilling. The meetings of BDA Training & Education Committee were held at Marshes Farm. Ray was an active participant (or over active, such was his style and passion). He was not driven commercially although might benefit. His belief, exhibited through his life, was excellence and service to best of ability. Ray was there when BDA Audit (2005) and BDA Apprenticeship (2007) were created. He ran courses for the latter. Until his illness finally overtook him he was still involved in drilling, and his family carries this forward.

Ray was multi-talented. He was a self-taught keyboard player; saxophone player; a collector and mechanic of vintage and classic cars, and rabbit breeder! He married Joan in 1961 and they had three sons. He was a Worshipful Master of his local Lodge. Westhoughton Town Council awarded him a Civic Medal in 2018 in recognition of his outstanding charitable works and great service to Westhoughton. In 2021 an MBE was awarded to Ray for services to children with special educational needs.

An example to us all.

Brian Stringer

Ex BDA National Secretary

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