Harold Fielding was born in Liverpool and gained his PhD from Liverpool University in 1957, after which he joined the R&D department of ICI at Runcorn Heath where he would spend his whole career. His links with academia included CASE projects in organofluorine chemistry, and he retired in 1991.
I first met Harold in 1983 when he became a presenter on my SCI-Liverpool John Moore University (LJMU) Schools/Industry project which was designed to improve secondary school pupils’ (and their teachers’) understanding and awareness of the chemical industry. He stayed with us for all of its 20 years, during which more than 12,000 participated in the meetings at LJMU. He also persuaded ICI to help fund the project.
Through this, we recruited him onto the Liverpool Section Committee and he served on this and its successor, the Liverpool & Northwest RIG, until 2012, including a term as Treasurer. This was recognised with SCI bestowing on him the Distinguished Service Award in 2004. We even managed to bring the SCI Lampitt Medal Ceremony away from Belgrave Square for its only time in 1997 to Lawson House in Runcorn.
Harold arranged for me to spend my Royal Society Industrial Fellowship at the Heath Labs in 1988, researching replacements for CFCs. One day I passed Harold in the corridor and was surprised that he did not reply when I said hello. Mentioning it later, it turned out I had said hello to Harold’s twin Brian!
Harold helped to organise, and gave the introductory talk, at a major meeting in 2008 at the Science Museum to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the discovery of polythene. He was an enthusiastic helper and supporter of the Salt Museum in Northwich and was a committee member of the RSC NW Trust throughout its 21 years.
My wife Joy and I, plus the other committee members, always enjoyed his and his wife Valerie’s company at section events, such as the AGM and Student Prize Giving. Valerie and Harold were keen ornithologists and organised holidays abroad just to see rare birds. They were also devoted to their son David and daughter Susan and spent a few months each year with their daughter’s family in New York and with their son’s family in Oxford.
Our thoughts are with Valerie and her family.
Professor Alan Heaton,
SCI Trustee and Chair of the Early Career Committee