Emeritus Professor Mark Thompson

Emeritus Professor Mark Thompson

Posted by pt91 at Jun 14, 2017 02:55 PM |

We have learnt, with great regret, of the death of Emeritus Professor Mark Thompson on 13 June. He was a Professor of Law at Leicester from 1996 and Head of Department for Law between 1999 and 2000. He also held the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 2004 and then Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 2007.

Professor Francois Du Bois, Head of Leicester Law School, said: "Mark Thompson was one of the outstanding academic lawyers of his generation, leaving a deep imprint not only on his area of specialization, Land Law, but also on this institution, which he helped lead as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for more than ten years. Very few academics achieve in either of these endeavours as much as he did; fewer still in both.

"Mark was also one of our most distinguished alumni, having studied for the LLB at the University of Leicester from 1975 to 1978. He quickly took up an academic career, being appointed to a Lectureship at Keele in 1979, from where he moved to Essex in 1982. His first appointment to a Chair followed rather swiftly, in 1991 at Newcastle, where he was also Head of the Department of Law between 1993 and 1995. He then returned to Leicester as Professor of Law from 1996 until his retirement in 2016. Here he played a leading role in what was then the Department of Law, as Head from 1999 to 2002, and across the whole University as PVC for Resources 2004-2015 and Senior PVC 2007-2015, before returning to the School to concentrate on research. As always, he contributed fully to communal academic activities, participating in the Private Law Research Cluster and assisting several colleagues with the development of their careers. He retired in 2016 by reason of ill-health, maintaining his links with us as Emeritus Professor.

"Mark wrote extensively on Land Law, being the author, or co-author, of several books and over 100 articles, book chapters and notes.

"The first of his books was on Co-ownership, published in 1988, followed by monographs on Investigation and Proof of Title in 1991 and Repossession of Property on Mortgage Default in 1993. At this point he had also started authoring general texts on Land Law: Megarry's Manual of the Law of Real Property in 1993; Land Law: Fundamental Legal Principles (1995); and Barnsley’s Conveyancing Law and Practice (1996). After his return to Leicester, Mark was appointed a Consultant Editor of Halsbury’s Laws of England, and published his magisterial Modern Land Law with Oxford University Press. He returned to the latter when he re-joined the School in 2015, and was very pleased to complete writing a 6th edition before his health declined too much, with Martin George as co-author.

"Mark also published a number of book chapters, but was especially prolific as author of journal articles in The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, the leading journal in his field. He was Case Notes Editor of The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer between 1994 and 2004, remaining a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal afterwards.

"The influence of Mark’s work reached beyond academia. Well before the REF required attention to the social impact of our work, Mark was already pursuing this through engagement in law reform initiatives. He acted as a consultant to the Law Commission for two reports in late 80’s. One of these resulted in a proposal implemented by the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. More recently, he was on several occasions an invited participant in Law Commission discussion groups.

"Mark pursued excellence in everything he did, and will be remembered and celebrated for his dedication to Law at Leicester and the wider University. He is survived by Cathy, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy for her loss."

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: "Professor Mark Thompson was an excellent colleague and friend of many staff and students in the University. He had an excellent knowledge of the University from his time as an undergraduate and through his period as a senior member of the Law department and Head of Department. Subsequently he became Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor - roles that presented major challenges which he handled with great success. In all his dealings with individuals there was one key principle - he always treated people with respect even when they were being difficult.

"Mark was known for his integrity and fairness, compassion and humanity. In particular he was very creative in helping heads of departments think imaginatively about staffing so that a good outcome could be achieved for the University as well as for the department. He was good at taking difficult decisions and keeping people on side. It was evident that he did not wish to follow trends in management for their own sake. For him concepts of fairness, consistency and keeping focused on university development were essential. He understood what was required to develop a successful university and this became the focus of his work with academic and professional colleagues.

"Many people also found Mark a source of good advice that helped them develop their careers. Students found his teaching and research in Land Law clear and accessible. He knew that engaging with students alongside doing research was at the heart of higher education.

"Mark will be remembered for his many achievements in Land Law and for the leadership he gave staff and students."

Steve O'Connor, formerly Director of Development at the University of Leicester, said: "Mark was a wonderful fellow alumnus from the vintage Class of '75 and an inspirational colleague in later years. Highly regarded for his powerful intellect and courage, Mark was passionate and proud of Leicester and the University for which he achieved so much. I will miss him for 'the craic', his enduring friendship and mischievous smile."

Dr Lorna Gillies, Lecturer in Commercial Law, University of Strathclyde, (Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Leicester Law School 2002-2015) said: "I am very saddened to hear of the death of Professor Mark Thompson. One word sums up Mark for me: genuine. He was, technically, my first Head of Department when I joined Leicester Law School in 2002.

"I will always remember the interview for what would become my first full-time lectureship - Mark, Professor Will Light, Professor Cosmo Graham, two other University Professors and I engaged in a genuine conversation. The welcome to Leicester began before I arrived, and this was thanks to Mark. I began my lectureship with another six colleagues. Mark would often join us and our partners for a curry in one of the many excellent curry houses along London Road. Good times.

"I am also tremendously grateful for Mark's continued support during my time at Leicester Law School. He was a genuine, encouraging, supportive and trusted colleague. I am glad we managed to have a coffee and a chat before I left Leicester in July 2015. Stephen, our three girls and I extend our deepest condolences and thoughts to Mark's family and friends at this very sad time."

If you wish to provide a tribute to Professor Thompson please e-mail

Captain Maxwell Mahama

Posted by pt91 at Jun 01, 2017 01:25 PM |

We have learnt, with great regret, of the death of Maxwell Mahama, a Captain in the Ghanaian Army.

Captain Mahama was a distance learning student in our Department of Criminology reading for the degree of  Master of Science (MSc) in Security and Risk Management. He had enrolled on the degree in 2015 and was due to graduate at this summer’s degree ceremonies.

Claire Vanneck from the Department of Criminology said: "We are greatly sorrowed to hear of the death of Captain Maxwell Mahama.  Maxwell was a dedicated and diligent student who strived to achieve his best throughout his Masters degree – successfully balancing his time between study, his military career and his dedication to his loving family.  We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Maxwell’s friends and family during this very difficult time.  Wishing you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart."

Dr Wendy Hickling OBE, JP, DL

Dr Wendy Hickling OBE, JP, DL

Posted by pt91 at May 30, 2017 04:05 PM |

The University has learnt, with great regret, of the death of Dr Wendy Hickling (nee Baldwin) who was the first graduate of the newly formed University of Leicester and a Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the University.

Wendy passed away on Sunday 21 May, aged 80. Her funeral takes place on 8 June, at 2.30pm, at Great Glen Crematorium.

Wendy not only had important roles in the University but also served the Lieutenancy, the Magistracy and the NHS amongst others. She was an influential and reforming Chair of Convocation and a very active lay member of Council.

Bridget Towle CBE DL, Chair of Council, said: "Wendy Hickling epitomised and celebrated the value of a degree from the University of Leicester. In 1958 students approaching graduation had a choice of a degree from the University of London or a degree from the newly chartered University of Leicester, Wendy chose Leicester.

"As she said on becoming a Distinguished Honorary Fellow exactly 50 years later, "Leicester gave me life". The degree was the foundation of a career as a teacher, school governor, charity worker, magistrate, a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire and also as Chair of three large NHS trusts. Beyond these roles Wendy also gave unstintingly of her time to serve the University of which she was so proud. She served on Convocation for 16 years, chairing it twice. She sat on the University's Court and Council for 20 years, chairing numerous sub committees including Audit. In Wendy's words this was "A wonderful experience helping our University to grow and develop over the years."

"Apart from the foundation of a University of Leicester degree Wendy's achievements were based on her personality. She was hard working, always wanting to contribute, to make a difference. Her many friends at our University will remember the interest she took in every detail of progress and the kindness and encouragement she gave to all the people she met.

"As the first student to graduate with a University of Leicester degree Wendy has set a very high standard for the thousands who have followed. We shall miss her very much."

Professor Sir Bob Burgess, former Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "Dr Wendy Hickling was a very distinguished member of the Leicester and Leicestershire communities when I first met her as a member of the Joint Senate and Council Committee to appoint a Vice-Chancellor. Her concern for the University was clear from the question she asked me: 'Why do you want to be Vice-Chancellor of our university?' In the years that followed I learned of her great affection for her university. Wendy gave generously of her time and sat on numerous committees but she also had space for the individual as she was concerned for everyone's welfare and wellbeing.

"Wendy Hickling will always be remembered and celebrated as a great champion of our university alongside the local NHS Trusts, school governing bodies, the lieutenancy and numerous other organizations. We have all been fortunate to know her. Many people have worked with her sharing her wisdom and receiving her help alongside appreciating her great sense of humour."

If you are a member of the University and wish to pay tribute to Wendy please e-mail your comment to

A full obituary is to follow.

View a gallery of photos of Wendy during her association with the University:

Wendy meeting HM The Queen in 1958.

Receiving her Distinguished Honorary Fellowship in 2008.

Speaking to graduating students in 2008.

Receiving her Distinguished Honorary Fellowship.

The University's first graduate with its 100,000th in 2009.

You can find out more about Wendy’s association with the University here:

Dr Kwame Owusu-Bempah

Posted by crm28 at May 19, 2017 12:25 PM |

We have learnt, with regret, of the death of Dr Kwame Owusu-Bempah.

Bempah, as most people called him, joined the University's School of Social Work in 1990. Bempah remained at the University until his retirement in 2009, during which time he published several books demonstrating his key interests in racial justice and the psychological development of children. Notably, 'Children and Separation: Socio-Genealogical Connectedness Perspective' was one of the most read psychology books of 2007.

Bempah was well known and highly active both within the University and the wider community.

Dr Allan Mills

Dr Allan Mills

Posted by pt91 at Mar 28, 2017 11:20 AM |

We have learnt, with great regret, of the death of Dr Allan A. Mills on 28 February 2017.

Dr Mills was appointed as a Research Fellow in Astronomy in 1967 and was a joint appointment with Geology and History of Science when the Department of Astronomy included History of Science. He retired from the University in 1999.

His influence can be seen on the University campus through his interest in timepieces: he designed and built the Astronomical Clock displayed on the exterior of the Rattray Lecture Theatre as well as the design of the clock on the Charles Wilson Building; and he designed the sundials over the Bennett Building and the noon mark sundial in front of the Attenborough Tower and Seminar Block.

Read the obituary for Dr Mills in the Times Higher Education.

Sarah Symons, Associate Professor at McMaster University and a former student of Dr Mills, said: “Allan Mills was a memorable lecturer. In the era before PowerPoint, he carried vast numbers of photographic slides into lectures and, with the lights lowered, brought the planets and moons into the classroom. He encouraged students to think, explore, and above all, to experiment. After his retirement, he demonstrated that this pursuit of knowledge was a life-long endeavour. Allan devoted his considerable mechanical talents to the testing of many historical science experiments ranging from early electrical machines to quarrying techniques in ancient Egypt to testing hypotheses about the Turin Shroud image. He published regularly and was notable for his eagerness to share his findings, ideas, and insights. Even in recent years, he was still developing project ideas for Canadian undergraduate students, inspiring them to question and investigate. Allan’s beautiful and intriguing contributions to the University campus (his clock, sundials, and noon mark), his wide-ranging body of written work, and his guiding influence on his students and his students’ students, together form his valuable legacy to academic life.”

Allan Mills pictured with Heather Couper and the astronomical clock in 1989:

The sundials on the Bennett Building: Richard Attenborough and Jean Humphreys at the unveiling of the noon mark sundial in 2007:

Dr Peter Ernest Long

Dr Peter Ernest Long

Posted by ap507 at Mar 24, 2017 04:15 PM |

We have learned, with great regret, of the death of Peter Long who started as lecturer in the Botany Department in 1968 (which later became a part of the Biology Department)  before continuing his career in the  Microbiology Department until 2001. Dr Long was subsequently involved with the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning until 2010 and was still a member of the British Mycological Society. 

A service will be held at Holy Trinity Church (LE1 6WY) on Monday 27th March at 10.00am.  Family flowers only please but donations, if wished, for Christian Aid and War on Want. All enquiries and donations c/o funeral directors A. J. Adkinson and Son, Oadby (0116 2712340) | |


Dr Peter Ernest Long, B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D, passed away at Sobell House Hospice, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, on Tuesday 14th March 2017, aged 79. Beloved father of Fraser and Antonia and brother of David, keen botanist and geologist, and active Christian. Retired Lecturer in the University of Leicester Botany Department, then in Microbiology (1968-2001), and involved with the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning until 2010. Dr Peter Long started as a lecturer at the University in 1968 and worked there not only until his phased  retirement from undergraduate teaching (beginning in 1998 and ending in 2001) but continued to work in a part-time capacity with the University's adult education unit for many years after (until 2010), teaching in evening, weekend or distance learning courses aimed at enthusiasts for ecology and nature conservation.

Of his early time at the University, in the then Botany department, he recalled the following:

"The first two years in particular were largely spent in developing parts of or whole courses on fungi and on the interactions of microbes with plants for the then innovative modular degrees the School of Biology offered. Coupled with a slightly late start in higher education and through not following my doctorate with a research fellowship or two, this probably led to my becoming more of a university teacher than a researcher. It took a several years to find that out [formal career advice being rather underdeveloped then]. Microbial ecology became another teaching interest and I co-authored a third year undergraduate textbook on the topic.

"A new venture in my mid-forties was being seconded to the then large Adult Education department for five years as part of a then small outfit called the Professional Development Unit. My remit was to build on the success of some early intensive short courses on gene cloning aimed at research professionals who needed updating in the then novel technologies. Mercifully I did not have to teach the subjects but had the task of persuading many of my colleagues to come together as a team to deliver intensive one to two week practical courses to an international clientele.  It was an interesting diversion into what was essentially a commercial operation. While doing this I still maintained my undergraduate teaching."

Peter Long had always been keen on mycology and geology. On retirement he actively took up field mycology, the identification and recording of toadstools and other relatively visible fungi. He also worked on geological research papers he had been considering in conjunction with his geology hobby and, with Professor Jan Zalasiewicz and others, produced the following:

  • Zalasiewicz, J.A; Mathers,S.J; Gibbard, P.L.; Peglar, S,M.; Funnell, B.Mm; Catt, J.A. Harland, R.; Long,P.E.; and Austin, T.J.F. 1991  Age and relationship of the Chillesford Clay ( early Pleistocene: Suffolk, England). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London. Series B. 333: 81-100.
  • Long, P.E. 2000 .Norwich Crag Puzzles: Two Questions raised by Molluscs. In The Geological Society of Norfolk. 50thAnniversary Jubilee Volume. ( ed.R .Dixon) 59-65.
  • Long, P.E. and Zalasiewicz, J.A.Z. 2011. The molluscan fauna of the Coralline Crag (Pliocene, Zanclean) at Raydon Hall, Suffolk, UK: palaeoecological significance reassessed. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecolgy 309: 53-72.
  • Long, P.E. and Zalasiewicz, J.A.Z. 2012 Why look again at the Coralline Crag? A Molluscan Story. In Dixon, R, (ed) A Celebration of Suffolk Geology,  GeoSuffolk 10th Anniversary Volume, 149-161.

Tribute by Bill Grant & Frank Odds:

Our friend and colleague Peter was instrumental in bringing mycology teaching to Leicester. Together, we co-convened the very first microbiology course at Leicester – this second year course, which ran for many years, was the direct ancestor of all the current BSc and MSc modules that currently operate today. Peter also collaborated with one of us (WDG) in setting up a third year course in environmental microbiology (the first such course in the UK) that generated a very successful text book (WD Grant & PE Long {1981} Environmental Microbiology. Blackie, Glasgow & London, 215pp.) During these years, Peter was an extremely enthusiastic and skilled field mycologist who enjoyed taking final year students (and school teachers in evening classes) on “fungal forays” round the county of Leicestershire.  In 2012 he published: Why look again at the Coralline Crag? A Molluscan Story. In Dixon, R, (ed) A Celebration of Suffolk Geology,  GeoSuffolk 10th Anniversary Volume, 149-161. (Long, P.E. and Zalasiewicz, J.A.Z. 2012).

It is also worth recording that Peter set up in 1970 an innovative Easter Field Trip for our students, where a group of 20 or so final year students visited Research Institutes and industrial premises where there was pure microbiological research and research related to industrial processes being carried out, so that they could see future employment options. This was much appreciated by our students and frequently in later years, the current crop of students would come across one of their predecessors working at one or other of these sites. This Field Trip still runs today in pretty much the same form, nearly 50 years later!

Peter was an enthusiastic proponent of mycology who approached his undergraduate teaching responsibilities from a very detailed knowledge base. He will be remembered by all those who knew him.

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