Professor David Blackmore MBE: Renowned Scientist Remembered

Born in London in 1932 David Blackmore, was a motivated and single- minded young man growing up in post war London, who, while working at Shell Petroleum, as a post boy, also went to night-school to study for his O levels and A levels. These qualifications enabled him to work as a laboratory technician in the RAF. While working in RAF hospitals he became interested in haematology. His interest, coupled with a desire to improve survival rates of the wounded personnel that arrived in hospital with damaged and failing kidneys, inspired him to work on revolutionising the way the service personnel were treated. This culminated in him leading the team that invented the modern dialysis machine, which, prior to his team’s intervention, was the size of a large room. For this he was awarded an MBE, by the Queen, at Buckingham Palace. Also, while working for the RAF he helped to develop the roadside alcohol breath test and roadside drug test using a saliva swab kit.

Later in his career he went on to work with the home office on aircraft accident research, and in particular had a focus on developing methods to assess when and how much carbon monoxide was in a body at any time during and just after fatal air crashes. By using such techniques, he and his team were able to determine the extent of any fire that had started that may have caused the crash. He went on to become the world expert in the field of aviation toxicology, lecturing around the globe and in particular in USA and Canada where he was asked to form and lead their aircraft accident investigation departments and appear as an expert witness at investigation hearings.

On retiring from the RAF in 1973 he moved to Littleport and worked in Newmarket as Scientific Director of the Equine Research Station in which he carried out research into racehorse performance. Having developed this as far as he could, he started to working on his own method of developing antibodies and antigens by growing them in sheep and helped to grow essential human and veterinary medicines by via organic methods.

On retirement, his insatiable zest for life, along with his enjoyment of sport led him to join and participate in the local bowls club, where he was a member for over 20 years. This was something he enjoyed tremendously with it being a combination of skills, tactics, and solo and teamwork skills, not to mention the socialising after events, which he enjoyed to its fullest having worked up thirst! He enjoyed contributing to the local community and was Chair of the Board of Governors at a local Littleport school. Professor Blackmore had a strong Christian faith which motivated him to train as a Lay minister. He enjoyed exploring faith and Christ and was something he would continue to do with Reverend Howard Robson, right up until the end. He loved his time being part of the community of St Georges.

Professor Blackmore passed peacefully away on November 13th aged 87 and there was a service of Thanksgiving for his life, held at St Georges Church, Littleport on 5th December.

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