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Obituaries and tributes (29 April 2006)

Birch On 7 April, Joyce Margaret Birch, MRPharmS, aged 79, of 27 Waterloo Street, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 8AS. Miss Birch registered in 1949. She was a former committee member of the North Staffordshire branchof the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Halton On 5 January, John Lawrence Halton, MRPharmS, aged 92, of Brandreth LodgeNursing Home, Stoney Lane, Parbold, Wigan, Lancashire WN8 7AF. Mr Halton registeredin 1936.

Hedgman On 10 April, Michael Charles Hedgman, MRPharmS, aged 62, of 17 MadeleyClose, Chesham Bois, Amersham, Buckinghamshire HP6 6ET. Mr Hedgman registeredin 1969.

McGreal On 6 April, Laurence Anthony Joseph McGreal, MRPharmS, aged 72, of 450Kilmarnock Road, Newlands, Glasgow G43 2RL. Mr McGreal registered in 1957.

Miskelly On 10 April, John Walton Miskelly, MBE, MRPharmS, aged 70, of The OldPost Office, Hatton of Fintray, Aberdeen AB21 0YG. Mr Miskelly registered in1961.

Simpson On 18 April, Beatrice Joan Simpson, née Winterton, MRPharmS, aged89, of 3 Ashley House, 56 Forest Road, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 0XT. Mrs Simpsonregistered in 1941.

Stenlake On 14 April, John Bedford Stenlake, CBE, FRPharmS, aged 86, of MarkCorner, Glengap Road, Twynholm, Kirkcudbright DG6 4PR. Professor Stenlake registeredin 1941. He was a recipient of the Society’s Charter gold medal for 1990and its Harrison memorial medal in 1974 (see p516).

Professor Stenlake served an apprenticeship with Boots The Chemists. After passingthe Pharmaceutical Society’s intermediate examination at the age of 19,he was awarded a Jacob Bell memorial scholarship, which allowed him to studyat the Society’s School of Pharmacy, where he was awarded medals for distinctionin pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacognosy and the Society’s Pereiramedal as the most distinguished student in his final year.

After war service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, he returned to the schoolas demonstrator and then assistant lecturer while he continued his studies andobtained a first class honours BSc degree in chemistry at Birkbeck College. In1950 he completed his PhD and became a lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry.

In 1952 he joined the staff of the then Royal College of Science and Technologyin Glasgow and in 1962 was appointed professor and head of the department ofpharmacy. Following the college’s transition to the University of Strathclydein 1964, he was dean of the school of pharmaceutical sciences from 1967 to 1975.When he retired from the university in 1982, he was given an honorary professorship.

His achievements and service to the profession included membership of the BritishPharmacopoeia Commission. He was first appointed a member 1973 and served asvice-chairman from 1978 to 1980 and chairman from 1980 to 1988, during whichtime he also led the UK delegation to the European Pharmacopoeia Commission.He was a member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines from 1970 to 1979 andfounder chairman of its chemistry, pharmacy and standards subcommittee. He wasappointed a member of the Medicines Commission in 1984.

He was the author or co-author of well over 100 scientific papers and reviewsand author or co-author of a number of standard textbooks. He was made CBE in1985 for his contribution to the quality assurance and control of drugs and medicines.He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1964 and in 1986 hereceived the Royal Society’s Mullard award for outstanding contributionto the advancement of science.

Thomas On 3 April, William Roger Thomas, MRPharmS, aged 66, of Awelon, 21 ManorCrescent, Llanllwch, Carmarthen, Dyfed SA31 3RJ. Mr Thomas registered in 1962.

Tribute

Aschkenasy In a tribute to the late Basile Hipolyt Aschkenasy (PJ, 4 March, p279), ROBERT SMITH writes:

Basil Aschkenasy was born in Bucharest in 1929. When his family left Romania in the post-war years and settled in Argentina, he chose to remain in Europe. He spent his early education years at the University of Rome before coming to London, where he was to spend the rest of his life.

I was fortunate to meet him in the autumn of 1953 when we both became pharmacy students reading for the new three-year honours BPharm degree at the ChelseaSchool of Pharmacy. We were to remain firm friends for more than 50 years.

After graduating BPharm in 1956 and undergoing postgraduate training, Basil joinedBeecham Laboratories as an experimental pharmacologist but he did not find theindustrial climate for research particularly congenial. He then entered hospitalpharmacy as a pharmacist at Dorking Hospital, a calling that he found much moreacceptable. From here he developed a career in hospital pharmacy spanning morethan three decades, subsequently moving to the Institute of Psychiatry at theMaudsley Hospital, where he became chief pharmacist and eventually group chiefpharmacist.

He had a remarkable encyclopaedic knowledge of drugs and took pride in keepingup to date on new developments. He developed close relationships with cliniciansand consultants at the Maudsley Hospital and was much respected for his expertiseand knowledge. Indeed, he instigated visits to the wards by pharmacists, a practicethat is widely accepted nowadays. Quite apart from his detailed knowledge ofclinical pharmacology he was also interested in herbal and complementary medicine,about which he maintained an open mind.

By nature he was a charming person, warm in his personal relationships and solicitousfor one’s well-being. We would meet from time to time to dine together.He had a remarkable penchant for discovering new unpublicised ethnic restaurantsin different parts of London.

Basil took early retirement from the Maudsley Hospital, mainly because he foundthe new administrative atmosphere to be difficult and indeed unpleasant, time-consumingand time-wasting. Indeed, he relearnt the relevance of the old dictum “Administratorsshould be on tap and not on top”.

Following his retirement he enjoyed a quiet life but kept himself up to datewith pharmaceutical developments. He remained a frequent visitor to the MaudsleyHospital, where he could be found in conversation with former colleagues in thehospital canteen.

He is survived by his wife Jean, two daughters and two grandchildren.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10022102

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