Lawrence Whittard obituary: founder of Cherwell Laboratories

Cherwell Laboratories bids sad farewell to its founder who passed away on 10 September, aged 83

In memory of Lawrence Whittard, Cherwell Laboratories’ founder

Cherwell Laboratories, specialist suppliers of environmental monitoring and process validation solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries, has announced with great sadness that its founder, Lawrence Whittard, passed away peacefully at home, on 10 September 2020. He was 83 years old.

Lawrence graduated as a veterinary surgeon from University of Bristol in 1960 and embarked on a career in practice in the West country where he greatly enjoyed rural life. His university year group remained in contact and met each year for a dinner.

An interest in diagnostic work led him to start his own business and he founded Cherwell Laboratories in 1971 as a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. His interests and curiosity meant that new opportunities were never far away and a chance meeting at a laboratory equipment show in 1979 introduced him to Roberto Ligugnana of International PBI, Italy. Cherwell quickly became the UK distributor of their range of media preparation equipment and this started focusing the business on microbiology. Soon afterwards the SAS microbiological air samplers appeared and because of promoting these Cherwell started commercially offering prepared microbiological media to customers; the Redipor name was born in the early 1980s.

Lawrence’s eye for an opportunity never diminished and he helped design and build a Cherwell contact plate filling machine, followed by a system based microbial air sampling system named Multi-SAS. Cherwell grew and by the 2000s had focused on manufacturing prepared media and selling microbiological products primarily to the pharmaceutical sector. As the business continued to grow, more space was required and in 2004 it relocated to its current site, a significant step up but one which has allowed the business to continue to flourish. Lawrence’s son Andy had already joined the business and in 2005 became Managing Director.

Lawrence had always been a dedicated family man and welcomed the opportunity for the business to be passed to the next generation. His other son Pete is also a shareholder in the business and sits on the board. Lawrence continued to be an animal lover and had many pets over the years, he was also a keen photographer.

Current restrictions mean it is not possible to come together at this time to celebrate Lawrence’s life, however, his family plan to do so in the future when circumstances allow.

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