Soham Grammarians - Dr David Kerridge 1930-2008, SGS 40

The text of this tribute has kindly been provided by Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge:

David Kerridge was born on 18 June 1930 deep in the fens outside Littleport. He studied at Soham Grammar School, necessitating two arduous 15-mile journeys each day; in this remote childhood it was impossible for him to have friends come home after school and he was never warned not to talk to strangers because, as he said, there weren’t any strangers to come across.

1946 SGS photo: Alan Lenanton - David Kerridge - Bob Leonard

David remained a Fenman in spirit throughout his life, knowing the rhythms of the farm-year and helping with harvests until 1958.

At Soham Grammar School he developed a passion for science and in 1950, after National Service in the RAF, he came up to Cambridge to read Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College. He graduated in 1953 with a First in Biochemistry, and continued at the Department of Biochemistry for research that culminated in a dissertation on The mode of action of actidione [influencing the functioning of bacteria], for which he received his PhD in 1957. After two years away from Cambridge at the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine, he returned to Cambridge in 1958 to the MRC Unit for Chemical Microbiology, based in the University Department of Biochemistry. In October 1960 he received his first University appointment as an Assistant Director of Research in Biochemistry and he was appointed to a Lectureship in October 1964, a post that he held until his retirement in 1997.

His research was focused initially on the flagellum, on the morphogenesis of micro-organisms, exploiting – in an age prior to DNA sequencing – the classic techniques of biochemistry. Later he moved into research on antifungal compounds, seeking to improve their functioning as inhibitors. His work, his scientific colleagues and postgraduate students, his publications, his editorships, his membership of learned societies and his commercial consultancies, his invited papers across the globe, his visiting stints at research institutes in Europe, the middle East and Japan, and his enthusiasms translated into lectures and supervisions, all gave him enormous pleasure and satisfaction; none more perhaps than the recognition afforded him by the British Society of Medical Mycology in the distinction of his Honorary Membership in 1998.

In addition to his work within the Department of Biochemistry, he held many University positions, serving on numerous committees, boards and syndicates. In particular, he served on the Board of Graduate Studies from 1978 to 1990 – a role particularly in keeping with his long-term interest in the research students and research workers of the University.

David was elected to a Fellowship of Fitzwilliam House in February 1963, becoming one of the Founding Fellows when Fitzwilliam received its Royal Charter as a College three years later. He made great contributions to Fitzwilliam in many capacities, most notably for his teaching and his Direction of Studies in Biological Sciences and for his twenty years of service as Tutor for Graduate Students. He became a Life Fellow on retirement in 1997. David died in Cambridge a few days short of his 78th birthday, on 14 June 2008.

Keith Fuller 40: David was one of the group who re-established the Old Soham Grammarians after the war. He played a part for many years on its committees and regularly attended dinners until prevented by Parkinson's disease.

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page last updated 7 Nov 2008