Tributes to Fred who made uni department one of best in world

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TRIBUTES were today paid to the man who helped make Sunderland’s School of Pharmacy one of the best in the world.

Fred Oliver, awarded the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain’s Charter Silver Medal for services to pharmacy education, died on July 5, aged 98.

Professor Peter Fidler, vice-chancellor of Sunderland University, said: “We have had such a long and close association, and a very important one. This is very sad news.”

Fred was born in Belfast in 1915. The family moved to England when he was 12. He later started a pharmacy apprenticeship in Birmingham.

Fred married his fiancée Mary Rollett in 1941, the daughter of a leading local painter and decorator, after meeting through a love of amateur operatics. In 1949, they moved to Sea View Road West, Grangetown, as Fred became head of pharmacy at Sunderland Technical College, a role he held for 30 years.

“When my father arrived, it was a small department with seven teaching staff. This grew to about 80 in later years,” said Fred’s son David, from Hexham.

Sunderland’s School of Pharmacy became the largest in the country, and the first to offer pharmacy as a degree course.

“On his retirement, it was about to become the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and he was awarded a medal for his services to pharmacy education,” said David.

“In 1996, he was one of the first to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Sunderland University, for distinction and eminence in the field of Pharmacy Education.”

Fred sang with Bishopwearmouth Church Choir and Bishopwearmouth Choral Society.

He was part of Ford Amateur Operatic Society and belonged to Sunderland Rotary Club.

He was initiated into Peace & Unity Lodge in Sunderland in 1960, serving as Worshipful Master and being honoured for 50 years in freemasonry in 2010.

Provincial grand secretary Phil Rann said: “He was an amazing man. Fred will be sorely missing by members of his lodge.”

Fred’s funeral will be held at Hexham Abbey on Tuesday at 1pm. Donations in lieu of flowers to Making Music, c/o Dodd’s of Hexham NE46 2EW.