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Retiring scientist donates generous gift to Romford hospital

PUBLISHED: 14:08 26 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:18 26 May 2016

George Wood (Charity Chairman), Matthew Hopkins (Chief Exec), Christopher Westcott, Sarah Sadan (Lead Biomedical Scientist), Len Kemp (General Manager of Pathology) and Chris holding his gift

George Wood (Charity Chairman), Matthew Hopkins (Chief Exec), Christopher Westcott, Sarah Sadan (Lead Biomedical Scientist), Len Kemp (General Manager of Pathology) and Chris holding his gift

Archant

It's more common to receive gifts when you retire but a departing biomedical scientist has reversed the present giving with a generous donation.

Senior biomedical scientist Chris Westcott, 60, from Collier Row is retiring after 40 years of service.

As a parting gift, he has donated £4,300 in order for Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, to purchase a hi-tech DNA testing machine.

In his leaving speech, Chris said he was sad to leave behind fantastic colleagues.

He said: “These are the best bunch of colleagues I’ve ever worked with.

“In all of pathology in all departments, I’ve never known people with such ambition and drive.”

The portable device, which looks a bit like a printer, only needs a tiny drop of blood to identify any mutations in DNA.

The machine, called the NanoDrop Lite will speed up the process by 85 per cent through extracting the exact amount of DNA required for tests.

Several departments will be able to use the machine, including the Microbiology unit, who screen blood for HIV and hepatitis.

George Wood, chairman of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, said Chris was a role model.

He said: “We’ve never had an employee of the Trust make a personal donation of this nature to the charity before.

“Chris is leaving behind something that will help his colleagues in their work and benefit our patients.”

Chris started in the pathology department of the now closed Oldchurch Hospital, in Waterloo Gardens, in 1976, before transferring to Queen’s in 2006.

In his long career, he said he’d witnessed a great deal of change and technological improvements.

He said: “In the 80s, computers were introduced and that really worried me at first, but we couldn’t process the workload we receive now without using modern technology.

“When I started, we were doing 50 blood counts a day which was considered busy.

“Today, it’s nearer 2,000 and over. I think I’m definitely ready for a 40 year break now.”

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