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CIOB obituary: Lance Saunders

Lance Saunders
Lance Saunders

“If you always do what you always did; you’ll always get what you always got.”

That was a mantra by which Lance Saunders lived his life, whether in business, education, or following the fortunes of the Wales rugby side.

The self-advice did him well as he progressed from working as a surveyor underground in his native Gwent valley, to various construction jobs, leading a European project linking universities across the continent and further afield, an adviser role for the Construction Industry Training Board, and, for the past 20 years, running his own business training construction managers.

His enthusiasm for life was infectious and his determination to succeed unrelenting. Always personable and friendly with those who he met and worked with, Lance enjoyed imparting advice and encouragement to others seeking to develop their skills.

Lance, a CIOB fellow for more than 30 years and who served as chair of the Western Branch from 1995-98, died on 28 May aged 78 after a lengthy period living with myeloma cancer. He remained unflinchingly optimistic throughout his four years of treatment and refused to let his condition dictate what he wanted to do with his remaining time. Lance never retired and was answering emails and arranging NVQ assessments even during his final spell in hospital.

Caroline Gumble, chief executive at the CIOB, said: “Lance was a true Fellow of the CIOB and a great ambassador for the Institute and professional membership.

“He was a great advocate for vocational education and had the ability to support and coach people through their learning.

“Over the years Lance made important contributions to the development of CIOB professional standards through L7 NVQ in Construction Senior Management and the relationship and strategy building with the Awarding Organisations.”

Away from work, Lance enjoyed travel with his wife Christine and had a passion for Second World War intelligence history. He could often be found making alterations and renovations to their home, which he also built himself, and tending to their beautiful garden.

Rugby was another lifelong passion. A proud Welshman to the end, a knee injury cut short his playing days but not before the highlights of once playing scrum-half to Dai Watkins, and being invited to join the most promising youth players in the country at a training camp in Aberystwyth. The fortunes of the Wales national team, his beloved Pontypool, and in recent years, the Dragons, where he held a season ticket, were regular subjects of lively conversation with many people he met. 

Lance Godfrey Saunders died on 28 May 2022 at St David’s Hospice, Newport, aged 78. He is survived by his wife Christine, children Kathryn and Mark, stepchildren Andrew and Rebecca, and nine grandchildren.

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  1. I had the pleasure of working with Lance during my CSCS days, he was great to work with always willing to help sort out any issues and explain how he did it, always smiling. A great guy I am sure his family are very proud of him and rightly so

  2. Lance in my early years with the regional branch was a helpful and positive influencer whom I feel indebted too – such sad news to hear, my condolences to all

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