The BSCR is the beneficiary of a major bequest from the estate of the late Bernard and Joan Marshall. The bequest is specifically intended to encourage, recognise and support the work of early career investigators, and to facilitate a keynote lecture at the annual meeting of our Society. The BSCR is indeed fortunate to receive this generous gift which will be used to support:
Bernard and Joan Marshall were the uncle and aunt of Professor David Hearse from the Rayne Institute, St Thomas' Hospital in London. In 1970, David returned from a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University Medical Centre and embarked upon his career in cardiovascular research. Working alone and feeling rather isolated, David regularly met up with Keith Gibson from the Cardiothoracic Institute to discuss their research. At that time, the British Cardiac Society did not admit basic scientists and so, believing that there were other researchers in need of a discussion forum, David and Keith set up the 'Cardiac Muscle Research Group'. Expecting no more than 20 attendees, they were amazed to have almost 100 at the Group's first meeting. The Cardiac Muscle Research Group went on to become the BSCR.
Bernard and Joan Marshall were always fascinated by David's research and his commitment to training young investigators and creating multi-disciplinary research groups. After serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, Bernard Marshall married Joan and joined the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, working in various parts of the UK and progressing to a very senior level. Among his activities was membership of the team responsible for building the Thames Barrier. In the latter part of his career Bernard and Joan lived in Reading and in 1981, after his retirement, Bernard embarked upon several new careers, firstly setting up the Tenant Farmer's Association and becoming its first Director General. In 1987 he took an appointment at the University of Reading as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Agricultural Strategy, where for 10 years he organised various projects and national conferences. During that period, he and David often exchanged tips and suggestions on meeting venues, the organisation of academic meetings and the challenges of research. It was on such an occasion that Bernard and Joan discussed with David the possibility that part of their estate might be bequeathed to an organisation such as the BSCR.
After his period at Reading University, Bernard, although in his 80s, embarked on yet another career handling public relations and marketing for a local herb farm and garden centre. He frequently travelled to London to meet with David and was extremely active right up until two days before his unexpected death from a myocardial infarction in March 2009. His wife Joan died in January 2005.