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Obituary: Former IBMS President Arthur J Barrow MBE, TD

Arthur Barrow, who died on 11 June, was born, brought up and spent his whole career in Cardiff.

In 1948, after a short period working in a pharmacy, he obtained a post in the National Blood Transfusion Service in Cardiff and joined the Institute. National service was served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, most of it in the laboratories of a military hospital in Germany. This was followed by a long period of service with the Territorial Army attaining the rank of Major Quartermaster and culminating with the award of the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 1968.

On passing his final examination in haematology and blood transfusion he obtained a post in microbiology at Saint David’s Hospital in Cardiff where he achieved his Fellowship with a final in microbiology. In 1958 he moved to the Welsh National School of Medicine as Senior Technician in Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary and was appointed Laboratory Chief Technician in 1964, becoming Principal on the establishment of that grade. In 1971 the laboratories moved to the newly built University Hospital of Wales where he spent the rest of his career until his retirement in 1994.

His active involvement with the Institute started with his election to the Cardiff Branch committee in 1957 and he was its Treasurer until 1965. He was a member and Treasurer of the South West Region from 1960 to 1980. In 1973 he was elected to Council and served with distinction, becoming Institute Treasurer from 1984 to 1990 and President in 1991. During his period on Council he served on most of the Council Committees and was active in establishing the Institute’s Safety Panel. In 1981 the Secretary of State for Health appointed him a member of the British Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens.

Education was central to Arthur’s professional life.  After lecturing for a number of years, he was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, later becoming a Governor of the college. This work was recognised by the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the College, now a part of Cardiff Metropolitan University. He represented the Institute on the Joint Committee for ONC/D in Sciences and on the BTec committee for medical laboratory science from 1978 to 1985. He was involved in the accreditation of degree courses at universities and was a member of the Welsh Joint Education Advisory Panel and The Polytechnic and Colleges Funding Council, Science Programme Advisory Group.

Arthur Barrow was deeply committed to the profession and to instilling high professional standards in the staff in his departments and throughout the profession. He worked incredibly hard to help define the future of the profession and to achieve this vision. His work was recognised by the award of Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and in 1998 by being elected a Vice President of the Institute. He was a credit to the profession and will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts go out to his wife Shirley and to his daughters Sally and Kate.   

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