Sue Bolton CCol FSDC
Sue is originally from a small village close to the south coast of England near Hambledon, the birth place of cricket. After secondary school she moved 250 miles north to Bradford University to study for a Bachelor of Technology degree in Colour Chemistry and Colour Technology. This was a four-year course with two six-month placements – called internships today – as part of the course. The first placement was with the International Wool Secretariat in Ilkley where she was a technician in the R&D laboratory working on dyeing and shrink resist finishing of wool, watching wool dye.
The final year of the degree course allowed a specialisation in dyeing of textiles or paints and surface coatings. Sue was undecided which to follow, so applied to work as a technician in the Hoechst Technical Services Department in old Trafford in the surface coatings and paint lab, mainly colour matching paint…watching paint dry!
Bradford School of Colour Chemistry and Colour Technology strongly supported the SDC. It was made very clear in the first weeks of term that if you wanted to succeed in this field, joining the SDC was essential to network with prospective employers. The annual first meeting of the academic year was arranged at the local pub with free food – and all first years joined the SDC.
Every year each group appointed two members to form the student section committee of eight students who organised and arranged meetings.
Later in her final year, chairman and secretary of the student section were up for election. With two girls and ten boys, the girls were left to be “responsible”, and as the friend was happier to write letters and hold the post of secretary, Sue became chairman.
With a CV demonstrating leadership and team working through SDC committee activities with the academic report, Sue was accepted by Marks and Spencer as a graduate recruit. Her first role was as laboratory technologist, testing textiles, among many things, for colour fastness and physical performance.
The M&S boss delegated attending the SDC Fastness Testing and Co-ordination Committee attendance to her as his deputy. In 1979, all other committee members were men, most about 20 years older than her, and she was expected to be the M&S spokesman and so began Sue’s career links to SDC. (Eventually the SDC committee was to be re-named the BSI technical committee for colour fastness of textiles, TCI 81)
Sue’s role at M&S evolved so her role equivalent today would be legal compliance and product safety manager for non-food. In parallel, she became extensively involved with BSI, CEN and ISO standards committees primarily related to textiles, and since 2006 has chaired a CEN working group on Safety of children’s clothing (TC 248 WG 20), and BSI committees on Burning behaviour of textiles (TCI 66/-/8) and Care labelling and cleansing of textiles (TCI 82). From 2012-2017, Sue was chairman of ISO TC 38 SC1, the International standards committee for Colour fastness of textiles.
In 2004, she left Marks and Spencer to establish Bolton Consultancy Ltd, providing textile consultancy to micro and global brands.
In 2005, Sue was invited to chair the SDC’s Technical Co-ordination Committee and joined SDC’s Council. With the change in SDC’s governance in 2009, Sue was formally elected by the members to the SDC’s board and continued to chair TCC. When she retired by rotation from the board, and stood down as chair of TCC, she was elected Honorary Secretary 2013-2018, and nominated President-elect 2018-9.
Sue gained ASDC and CCol in 1981 and was awarded the Society’s silver medal in 1991 for services to the coloration industry and a gold medal for services to the Society in 2009.
Sue and her husband David live in Ealing, London. They have one adult daughter. Sue’s interests include food and cooking – she has around 80 recipe books and reading mainly fiction.