The death of " Miroslav Sigmund.
Czechoslovakian born Miroslav Sigmund, known as Mirka, held the patents for more than 50 inventions and specialised in making water pump systems, notably for the ancient Green Goddess fire engines.
Since the Second World War Mirka provided pumps, gun parts and gas filters and training for young engineers at the Sigmund Pumps factory he established on Team Valley Trading Estate, in Gateshead.
Mirka, the youngest of three brothers and a sister, graduated in mechanical and electrical engineering at the Technical University in Brno, now in the Czech Republic, in 1930.
He joined the family pump making business after serving as a fighter pilot in the Czechoslovakian airforce and married Huberta in 1932. The couple had two daughters Blanka, who died in 1999, and Helen.
On the invitation of the British Government he moved with his family in 1938 to Gateshead and made water pumps for the country's war effort at the Team Valley.
In Czechoslovakia Mirka's brother Jan had been arrested by the Gestapo and was executed.
Mirka gave many young Tynesiders hope when he set up a Apprentice Training Scheme for boys aged 14 and above, offering them a chance of acquiring a skilled trade. His scheme was later combined with a course at Gateshead Technical College.
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|Publication:||Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Mar 23, 2004|