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Derek Hodgson

Members will be very sorry to learn of the death, on 17 August 2006, of Dr Derek Hodgson, former Senior Lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Born in 1928, Derek Hodgson attended King Jamess Grammar School, Knaresborough, before being admitted to Leeds to read Agriculture. Graduating in 1950, he was awarded a scholarship by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to take the Postgraduate Diploma in Agriculture at Cambridge. He returned to Leeds and joined the staff of the Department of Agriculture as a Demonstrator at the University Farm, Headley Hall, in 1953. In the following year he was appointed Agronomist, working on an externally-funded project on the reclamation of land covered with pulverized fuel ash; work which led to the award of his PhD in 1961. Derek Hodgson became a highly respected agronomist, publishing influential papers on the regeneration of polluted land for agricultural purposes. He also published on drought resistance in field crops and in the area known as minimal cultivation. Appointed Assistant Lecturer in 1957, he was promoted to Lecturer in 1959 and to Senior Lecturer in 1969. With the closure of the Department of Agriculture he transferred, in 1972, to the Department of Plant Sciences.

Derek Hodgson was a stimulating and successful lecturer, who pursued a substantial teaching programme with both energy and enthusiasm. He also had extensive external links. As a member of the British Association, he served as Recorder of its Agriculture Section from 1968-1974, also serving as Secretary of the Yorkshire Agricultural Adventurers from 1976-83 and as a member of the Farm Advisory Committee at High Mowthorpe Experimental Husbandry Farm from 1978-1983.

When Derek Hodgson took early retirement from his post, in 1987, his then head of department paid warm tribute to the care, thoroughness and devotion with which he had served his University and agricultural science generally, and to the meaningful contributions he had made to each. He will be remembered with affection and respect by those who worked and studied alongside him.

Derek Hodgson is survived by his daughter, Jane, and son, Tim.