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Paul Allam

It is very sad to have to report the death, on 17 February 2005, of Mr Paul Allam, a Chief Technician in the Academic Unit of General Surgery, Medicine and Anaesthesia.

Paul graduated from Leeds in Biochemistry in 1976. Following spells as a research student and trainee chemist with Bass Brewing Ltd, he was appointed, in November 1982, as a Grade 3 technician in the then Department of Anaesthesia at St Jamess University Hospital. He quickly established a reputation for the excellence of his work, and for his adaptability and total reliability. From the outset, Paul was involved with the work of the Leeds Malignant Hyperthermia Unit, a specialist unit within the Department, and in time became the chief technician for its laboratories. The unit acts as a national referral centre for patients susceptible to Malignant Hyperthermia, a potentially very serious complication of anaesthesia. Paul developed great technical expertise in the highly specialised procedures used to test muscle samples taken from patients and their families suspected of being at risk of this condition. Much of his work was adopted by the European Malignant Hyperthermia Group (of which the Leeds unit is a founding member) when drawing up an agreed protocol for laboratory investigations.

He was also regularly called on to demonstrate the test procedures and methodology to visitors from all over the world who were looking to establish or improve their own MH services. Most recently, Pauls expertise was central to the Leeds unit being appointed the quality assurance reference laboratory for the European MH Group. His skill and knowledge have undoubtedly made an important contribution to the success of the Unit in reducing the incidence of a potentially life-threatening condition.

Promoted on several occasions during his career, Paul played a full part in setting up and supporting an extensive range of other research projects. His teaching, advice and assistance were very much appreciated by a wide variety of staff, academic and NHS alike, and students. Paul also carried substantial administrative responsibilities in the areas of general laboratory supervision, purchasing and accounts. Every member of the unit depended on him and he was totally dependable. He took great pleasure also in organising social events for the unit, when his knowledge of local restaurants came to the fore. As a much loved friend and colleague, Paul will be irreplaceable.

Paul is survived by his partner, Kathy Hoole.