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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 8th February 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 10th February
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Jim Nevill, Dr Judah Folkman, Alastair Ross Goobey and Tommy McQuater.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Spiritual leader who has died at the estimated age of 90.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought Transcendental Meditation to millions and made millions of pounds for his global organisation. He was born Mahesh Prasad Varma, the son of a tax official in central India. He took a degree in physics, and then studied for a decade under the respected religious teacher known as Shri Guru Deva. After his teacher’s death, Mahesh adopted the title Maharishi or “the great seer” and announced the setting up of a worldwide Spiritual Regeneration Movement. He embarked on a series of world tours. In August 1967, he arrived in London to give a lecture at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.

During the 1970s, the Maharishi began targeting business professionals, promising improved productivity and job satisfaction for those who bought into his techniques.Over the following decades he built up a global organisation which he ran from a former Franciscan monastery in Holland.

Matthew Bannister talks to Pattie Boyd who suggested the Beatles go along to one of his lectures, Maharishi's UK Director Peter Warburton and to Geoff Gilpin who wrote The Maharishi Effect.

Mahesh Prasad Varma was thought to have been born January 12th 1917. He died February 5th 2008. 
Jim Nevill
Head of the Scotland Yard Bomb Squad who has died aged 80

In 1975, at the height of an IRA bombing campaign in London, the police cornered four IRA gunmen in a flat in Balcombe Street where they took a middle aged couple hostage. So began a siege that lasted for six days and involved tense negotiations. The man in charge of those delicate negotiations was the head of Scotland Yard’s anti terrorist squad, Detective Chief Superintendent Jim Nevill.

Jim Nevill was an experienced detective who had joined the police after National Service with the Royal Fusiliers. As a young Flying Squad officer he took part in the investigation of the Great Train robbery of 1963.
Matthew Bannister talks to Jim Nevill’s second in command at the Balcombe Street siege, Peter Imbert who went on to become Metropolitan Police Commissioner and is now Lord Imbert.

Jim Nevill died December 12th 2007.
Moses Judah Folkman
Cancer researcher who has died aged 74

Dr Judah Folkman was a pioneering medical researcher. He was the first to recognise that tumours grow because they develop their own blood supply – a process known as angiogenesis. For many years, Dr Folkman’s work was greeted with scepticism by the medical establishment. But his painstaking research won over his critics and today there are more than a dozen anti cancer drugs based on the principle of preventing angiogenesis.

Judah Folkman was educated at Ohio State University and Harvard Medical School. After qualifying as a surgeon, he took up a post at the Boston Children’s hospital where he stayed for the rest of his career. He also became a professor at Harvard.

Matthew Bannister talks to Robert Cooke who wrote Dr. Folkman’s War.

Moses Judah Folkman was born February 24th 1933. He died January 14th 2008.
Alastair Ross Goobey
Fund manager who has died aged 62. 

Alastair Ross Goobey was one of the most talented and best known fund managers of his generation. He was Chief Executive of Hermes - one of Britain’s biggest pension funds, he was also a special adviser to two Conservative Chancellors and a regular panellist on Radio 4’s business quiz, the Board Game. Alastair grew up near Bristol and was educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College Cambridge. He was a talented musician who played the piano and the clarinet and was a Governor of the Royal Academy of Music.

In the 1986 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson invited Alastair Ross Goobey to become his special advisor. He was recalled to the job in 1991 by one of Lawson’s successors, Norman Lamont.

Matthew Bannister talks to Alastair’s fellow Board Game panellist Peter Day and to Lord Lamont.

Alastair Ross Goobey  was born December 6th 1945. He died February 2nd 2008.
Tommy McQuater
Trumpeter who has died aged 93

Tommy McQuater was known as the Godfather of British jazz trumpeters. Born in Ayrshire in 1914, he took up the cornet at the age of 11, joined the local brass band and practiced for six hours a night whilst working in a joinery shop in his teens. Tommy was spotted by the London bandleader Jack Payne in 1934. Within a year, Tommy was playing with Lew Stone’s big band before joining the legendary Ambrose and his orchestra. After wartime service in the RAF dance band known as the Squadronnaires, Tommy joined Jack Parnell’s ATV orchestra, playing for many top rated TV shows, including Saturday Night at the London Palladium and the Muppet Show. As a successful session player, Tommy backed Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, and went on playing well into his eighties.

Matthew Bannister brings together three of Tommy’s fellow jazz musicians Kenny Ball, Stan Reynolds and Duncan Campbell.

Thomas Mossie McQuater Sr was born September 4th 1914. He died January 20th 2008.
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