I was greatly saddened to read, recently, of the death of Brenda Ecclestone in December 2018.
I first met Brenda in the autumn of 1961, when I joined the pharmacy department of Westminster Hospital as a postgraduate apprentice. At that time, Brenda was in charge of the sterile products team in the large manufacturing and warehousing area that the department occupied in the basement of this influential hospital, exhibiting so well the pharmacist’s hallmark skills of accuracy, cleanliness and concern for the client.
I was privileged to work, during the 12 months that followed, with a superb team of supervisors — one of them Brenda — led by the hospital’s then chief pharmacist, Herbert Grainger, who was also the standing president of the Pharmaceutical Society. It was a significant year in which there was the thalidomide disaster, the introduction of topical hydrocortisone into dermatology, and the introduction of the very first pathology-specific antidepressant (amitriptyline). Brenda was very influential in helping me to see such events in perspective; to understand hospital pharmacy in the context of patient care; and to appreciate the role of the London teaching hospitals in the revolution in patient care, initiated by the many pioneering post-war drug discovery events.
I also knew Brenda, and her husband, Martin, on a personal level. When they were married, I played the organ at the service. Brenda particularly liked to keep in touch with “her students”, and we stayed in contact for more than 50 years after that, during which I was delighted to hear about Brenda’s own superb work with the National Association of Women Pharmacists and the BNF.
I am immensely grateful that Brenda was able have such a positive impact on my career, while pursuing her own very successful career. She was a consummate professional and colleague, and a delightful human being. I, and many others, will miss her.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206498
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