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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 18th August 2006
(rpt) Sunday 20th August 2006
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: Professor James Van Allen, Len Dyke, Kenneth Richmond, Dr David Sainsbury and Rufus Harley.
Professor James Van Allen
Physicist who has died aged 91.

In 1958, Professor James Van Allen supervised the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer 1.  He designed the instruments on board which revealed the surprising existence of previously unknown radiation belts surrounding the earth. These are now known as the Van Allen belts and have been crucial to space investigation.

Based at the physics department of Iowa University, James Van Allen designed and launched three more Explorer rockets. He was also a significant force in the interplanetary missions to Venus, Mars, Neptune, Venus and Uranus. 

Matthew Bannister discusses his life and work with Andre Balogh who is Professor of Space Physics at Imperial College and his son Pete Van Allen. 

Professor James Van Allen was born on September 7th 1914. He died on August 9th 2006.
Len Dyke 
Businessman and community activist who has died aged 79.

Len Dyke teamed up with Dudley Dryden to start one of Britain's first successful black owned businesses. Starting out as a record importer bringing the latest reggae releases over from Jamaica, he soon saw the opportunity to diversify into hair and beauty products aimed at black women. 

Len Dyke was convinced that the best way for black people to beat discrimination was to start their own enterprises.

The former Trade Union leader Lord Morris and Tony Wade who was the third partner in the success of Dyke and Dryden discuss their friend and colleague.

Lincoln 'Len' Dyke , businessman and community activist was born on December 18th 1926. He died on July 5th 2006. 
Kenneth Richmond
Olympic wrestler and actor who became the last of the men who struck the symbolic J. Arthur Rank movie gong has died aged 80.

While Ken Richmond was faking the striking of the gong on screen, the real noise came from a percussionist called James Blades hitting a tam tam which was a mere two feet in diameter. 

At 6ft 2in (1.9 m) and 19 stone (120 kg), Richmond was well-suited to his chosen sport of wrestling. He won a bronze medal in the freestyle heavyweight category in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

Chris Saunders discusses the varied interests of his close friend Kenneth Richmond with Matthew Bannister. 

Kenneth Richmond was born on July 10 th 1926. He died on August 3rd 2006.
Dr David Sainsbury
Veterinarianwho has died aged 78.

When intensive farming started up in post-war Britain, the veterinarian and academic Dr David Sainsbury realised that little was known about how to protect the animals from the rigours of battery farming. The research he undertook to relieve animal suffering and the rules he devised laid the basic principles which are still followed by the industry today and won him a number of awards for preventing pain and fear in animals. 

For much of his life, Dr Sainsbury lectured at the University of Cambridge Veterinary School and his post war work on animal husbandry broke new ground.

Matthew Bannister finds out more about David Sainsbury from Alison Schwabe, his collleague at Cambridge for thirty five years.

Dr David Sainsbury was born on May 31st 1928. He died June 24th 2006. 
Rufus Harley called himself the world’s first jazz bagpiper.

Rufus Harley was born in North Carolina of African American and Cherokee descent and studied the saxophone, flute, oboe and clarinet. He was inspired to take up the bagpipes when he saw the Scottish Black Watch regiment playing at President Kennedy’s funeral in 1963.

He appeared on records with leading jazz musicians like John Coltrane,  Dizzie Gillespie and Herbie Mann. He made four albums of his own for the Atlantic label and appeared on a number of prime time TV shows. On stage Rufus Harley either wore a Macleod tartan kilt – or African dress complemented by a horned Viking helmet.

Here he plays live with  Sonny Rollins at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1974.

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