When the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain decided to establish the College of Pharmacy Practice in November 1980, two of the signatures on the Memorandum of Association were those of John Balmford and William Darling, and I was very sorry to learn of the death of both of them (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2017;299:60). Others are more qualified to comment on Bill Darling’s life and work, but I would like to pay tribute to John Balmford.
Following the establishment of the College of Pharmacy Practice on 1 January 1981, the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society became the Board of Governors and John Balmford was elected chair of the board of management, a position he was to hold for five years. Under his leadership, the role of the College in promoting a high standard of pharmacy practice developed rapidly, with arrangements for membership and examinations being set up. Such was its success that it was decided that the College should become independent of the Society, and when this happened on 1 January 1986, Balmford was elected the first Chairman of the independent board of governors, and again held the post for five years, becoming honorary treasurer for a number of years after that.
The success of the College over the next 28 years owes much to his vision, enthusiasm and drive, as well as his financial acumen. He was presented with the Schering Award of the College in 1991, not only in recognition of his tremendous contribution to the life of the College, but also for his work as an early pioneer of patient medication records in community pharmacy. When the College celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 2006, he was designated an honorary fellow of the College. He also donated the Balmford Silver Jubilee Cup to the College, and it was awarded in the following years to a person who had made a significant contribution to pharmacy practice at local level, in parallel with the Bayer Schering Award at national level.
Even in his retirement, John Balmford maintained a keen interest in the College and its activities, and as chief executive, I benefited from his advice on a number of occasions. With his death, the profession has lost one of its great visionary leaders, and one for whose life and work many of us have cause to give thanks.