Stewart In a tribute to the late Alan Finlay Stewart (PJ, 23 August, p252), Michael Berry, senior lecturer in pharmacology, John Moores University, writes:
Joining the school of pharmacy in Liverpool, from a Nigerian University, I was surprised to learn Alan had been born there, before being educated in Northern Ireland. Here he qualified as a hockey referee, a skill used in maintaining order when staff played students! After graduation from Manchester University, he spent a time in hospital pharmacy before coming to the then private school in the late 1950s. He was involved in changes in pharmacy education as the school became a part of the polytechnic, and as senior lecturer in pharmacognosy, he published on Rauwolfia species with Dr Bill Court. Alan accepted early retirement in 1989 to practise community pharmacy on the Wirral.
An analytical microscopist and photomicrographer, he developed a consultancy when commissioning instrumentation for densitometry, spectroscopy and chromatography, and had an early interest in interactive wound dressings. Among the first to introduce new teaching technologies, he used closed circuit television and videotapes. In retirement he became a computer buff, a desktop publisher, and completed a course on video editing. He changed cars frequently, no doubt to test the new gizmos.
A retiring person, he politely declined appearances in the staff pantomime, but laboured hard on the set and props. Unflappable, he rarely spoke at staff meetings, maintaining there was no point in repeating what had already been said. His dry sense of humour and the fact he did not suffer fools gladly possibly left students with an inadequate view of his sense of fun and zest for life. He was highly regarded as a valued colleague, always one of the first to offer help.
His greatest joy was the annual Merseyside Christian Youth Camps, where young people found friendship, fun and a challenge to faith. Each year he spent hours preparing accommodation, including installing an industrial kitchen range, and bought sweets in quantity. His commitment as Elder benefited Hoylake Chapel, where the problem of incorporating a baptismal pool in its new building engaged his amused interest. Recently we chatted in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall during the interval of a Christian concert. Alan saw worship as “worthship”, and sought to give God his worth by a life of sacrificial service. Many have testified to the enormous contribution he made.
On a personal level, I thank him for the example of his life so well spent. “Hold such in high esteem” (Phillipians 2:29). The director of school, staff and retired colleagues join me in sending our sympathy to his wife Norah, children Alison, Philip and Raymond, and grandchildren. Thank you for sharing Alan with us.