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Kenneth Everett, BSc, CChem, FRCS

Members will be very sorry to learn of the death, on 22 February 2014, of Kenneth Everett, former University Safety Officer.

Following military service between 1944 and 1947, Kenneth read Chemistry at Nottingham, graduating in 1951. He spent several years as an industrial chemist, including periods at the British Sugar Research Laboratories and the Windscale Works Laboratories (part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority) before joining the University in 1964 as its first Safety Officer.

He was to hold this post for the next twenty-six years, during which he made a significant, and very broad, contribution to life across the University. His responsibilities included managing the risks arising from microbiological hazards; carcinogens; and hazardous waste as well as fire safety and radiation protection. He was particularly instrumental nationally in developing the design of fume cupboards, and locally in writing the first University of Leeds Safety Handbook, which was used as the model by many UK and overseas institutions.

Kenneth extended both his responsibilities and his influence upon University safety by developing and teaching upon academic modules, including a discrete MSc programme in Environmental Pollution Control as well as modules within other taught courses. As his teaching role expanded, he was appointed an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health in 1966; Honorary Lecturer (later Associate Lecturer) in the Department of Community Medicine and General Practice in 1979; and Associate Lecturer in the Department of Medical Physics in 1983. Within the University he served on several standing committees on health and safety and was a member of the University Council. His extra-mural work upon laboratory safety included a range of academic publications, and he was also a major figure upon national boards and groups, for example as the first Chair of the Universities Safety Association and a long term member of and contributor to bodies such as the Education Services Advisory Committee of the Health and Safety Executive and the Health, Safety and Environment Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

It was said on his retirement that every department across the University had benefited from Kenneth’s acuity and his innovative approaches to managing health and safety issues. He was a strong believer in anticipating and avoiding hazards, not just preventing their recurrence, and sought to equip those who worked and studied with him with the skills to assess and minimise risk independently.  A modest man, with a warm and approachable manner, he excelled in gaining the trust and co-operation of colleagues from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, and in using humour and quiet persistence to defuse tensions and to bring into the fold even those who found the idea of regulation irksome.

Kenneth will be remembered with great esteem and affection by former colleagues and students alike, and our sympathy is with his wife, Jane, and their children.

The funeral has already taken place;  on the day the flag on the Parkinson Building was flown at half-mast in Kenneth’s memory.