Tribute: Brenda Ecclestone

The National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP) would like to pay its respects to Brenda Ecclestone, one of its long-standing members, who sadly died unexpectedly on 15 December 2018.

Brenda was absolutely committed to the pharmacy profession, possibly due to having been brought up in a chemist’s shop in Halifax, owned by her father, Irvine Smith.

Born as the only child to Mary and Irvine Smith in 1934, Brenda attended Crossley School for Girls in Halifax, going on to qualify as a pharmacist in 1954. She returned to work with her father until 1960, when she moved to London.

In 1963, Monica Rose FRPharmS met Brenda while working in Westminster Hospital with another much missed member, Effie Smith, who shared a flat with Brenda in Sutton Gardens. It was a wonderful place within the sounds of Big Ben’s chimes.

Later that year Brenda married Martin Ecclestone and together they had a daughter, Catherine, in 1964 and a son, Richard, in 1975. Catherine now lives in America with her family and Richard was, until recently, working at CERN in Geneva. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

In 1975, Brenda qualified as a librarian and combined her two professions by working for the then Pharmaceutical Society, co-editing the BNF for several years. In 1990, the family moved to Stroud, where Brenda became a local tutor for the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education and worked part-time in both hospital and community pharmacy.

Brenda joined the NAWP and was on its executive committee from 1993 to 2007, holding the post of honorary secretary from 1996 to 2007. Despite being asked several times to step up to the top job of president, Brenda gracefully declined. She never aspired to lead the Association, but encouraged several other members to join the executive committee and take on the office. Brenda co-edited the NAWP’s book, Careers in Pharmacy, first published in 1998. She contacted The Women’s Library at the London School of Economics and ensured that all the NAWP publications were made available to all women via them.

The NAWP’s members would always look forward to seeing Brenda at their annual study weekends, wherever they were held. Although Brenda didn’t drive, she got there one way or another. Speaking to Brenda was always a delight, she had a lively voice and was genuinely interested in all you had to say. She was committed to the NAWP and to the role of women in the profession. Brenda will be missed by all who knew her in her long and varied life.


Anita White, president of the National Association of Women Pharmacists




Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2019, Vol 302, No 7923;302(7923)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206185

You may also be interested in