On Saturday 9th of July, the MRC Harwell family was shaken by the news of the passing of one of its longest serving members. Our dear colleague Ade Elsley died from cancer.
Ade joined the MRC Radiobiology Unit in October 1986 as a Building Services Engineer. He was promoted in 1998 to Building Services Manager. By this time the site had two Units, the Mammalian Genetics Unit created in 1995 and the Radiation and Genome Stability Unit. In this role he oversaw the design and build of the Mary Lyon Centre, a real proud moment for all. In 2008 he became the Technical Services and Projects manager, until his final promotion to Head of Engineering and Estates in 2013. During this time, he led the design and construction of the new Advance Training Centre.
Ade’s almost 36 years of loyal service at MRC Harwell saw him involved in countless projects that transformed the old 1950s and 60s buildings into modern and functional facilities where the science could flourish. But more than the very important practical and professional achievements, Ade will be remembered for his human touch, the support for his team and colleagues. He was the guy with a heart of gold that would always try to make things work for you. In times of emergency like power outages, the water being cut off or equipment failure, Ade would be on site, dealing with the issues, directing the team and sometimes coming up with innovative ways around complex problems. He would not leave until he was 100% sure that things were back in working order.
Ade was also always looking to the future of site, he was instrumental in setting up the apprenticeship scheme and remained a staunch and committed supporter, recently looking forward to recruiting the next couple of apprentices. He believed that they were the future and was so proud of all of those who trained at Harwell and extremely generous with his time to hand down his remarkable skills and knowledge. His attention to detail was also well known by all and part of the pride he took in his work and in handing over a job well done where his colleagues and friends could carry out their professional activities in the best possible conditions.
This will be the enduring memory we will all cherish, together with the more visible and permanent legacy of the Mary Lyon Centre, a state of the art animal facility that has shaped the last two decades of what MRC Harwell represents for the scientific community and mouse genetics, and the new Advance Training Centre, an incredible space where we will be able to share our experience and knowledge with the future generations of mouse geneticists and where the local community can meet and network.
In the words of our director: “We all have memories of Ade as a manager, a colleague, a collaborator and most of all, as a friend. I am sure we will share these over the coming months and find some way together to celebrate the great legacy he leaves on site.”
Thanks Ade! From the bottom of our hearts!