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100 Years of Pharmacy! 1921 - 2021

Pharmacy Centenary events


We have a packed programme of activities throughout the year to celebrate the 100 years of Pharmacy education at Sunderland.

Please click on this link to see the full programme.



Paul Carter Hope Winch

Hope Winch Society

The Hope Winch Society began in 1984 and it is for all University of Sunderland Pharmacy graduates. Named after Hope Constance Monica Winch, who was appointed as the first head of the University's pharmacy department and was instrumental in its development.

The Hope Winch Society is free and we encourage all students and staff to join and get involved, promoting the proud history of Sunderland Pharmacy School. Events include quizzes, networking sessions, an annual lecture and the Hope Winch Annual Reunion Dinner. 

Pharmacy Centenary University of Sunderland

Hope Winch Benevolence recipients

Hope Winch Benevolence Appeal

In this special year we are delighted to officially launch our Centenary Fundraising Programme. We are inviting all pharmacy graduates to join us in supporting the Hope Winch Benevolence Fund here at the University of Sunderland.

The Hope Winch Benevolence Fund provides a lifeline for those students struggling financially, and today with the worldwide crisis increasingly affecting so many and exacerbating underlying disadvantage, it is more important than ever that those who can give, do.

The History of Pharmacy at Sunderland

From humble beginnings to international recognition, join us as we recall a century of the study and education of Pharmacy at the University of Sunderland.

The Pharmacy Department began as a single bench in the Chemistry Department, but soon grew to become the largest in the country. This was thanks to the vision of Miss Hope CM Winch, a remarkable scientist and pioneer of the Pharmacy Department.



Nostalgic Sunderland


Pharmacy People: Past and present

In this section you can read about Sunderland pharmacy alumni through the years.

Thomas Whittet

Dr Thomas D Whittet CBE, BSc, FPS, DBA FRIC (1915-1987) Class of 1930’s 

Thomas Whittet successfully passed both the Chemist & Druggist and the Pharmaceutical Chemist examinations whilst a student at the School in 1930s and remained a dedicated supporter.  He studied at University College London before working as a lecturer at Charing Cross Hospital during the Second World War. He then took on a role at University College Hospital, before moving to the Ministry of Health.   

Bill Darling

William Martindale (Bill) Darling OBE, CBE, DL (1934-2017) Class of early 1950s 

Bill Darling studied at the School in the early 1950s, serving as BPSA Sunderland Branch Chairman in 1953-55. On qualifying, he took over the family retail businesses in South Shields, but also began his life-long contribution to pharmacy politics. Having been elected to the Pharmaceutical Society's Council in 1962, he became Vice-President in 1968, and President in 1971. He remained on the Council for 39 years.  

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Tony Weaver

Tony Weaver Class of 1964

Tony Weaver has gained multi-disciplinary experience in the pharmaceutical industry over 40 years. Before retiring, Tony used to operate two retail pharmacies in Guernsey, Channel Islands. As chairman of the Lloyds Chemists local branch, Tony was heavily involved in the setting up of a Guernsey Pharmaceutical Scheme. He still recalls Fred Oliver, the then Head of the Pharmacy department, as a major influence for him.

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Peter Green

Dr Peter Green Class of 1970 

In 1974 Peter took up a post as Biochemical Pharmacologist with Beecham Pharmaceutical Research Division in Essex, transferring to the gastrointestinal research project team in 1976, and then moving to be Senior Biologist on an anti-inflammatory project until 1983 when he was appointed as Manager of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the International Development Laboratories at ER Squibb UK.  

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Charlie Spedding

Charlie Spedding Class of 1974

After graduating from Sunderland in 1974, Charlie worked at St Thomas's Hospital, London, for a year before returning to the North East to work in community pharmacy. In his late twenties, he decided to concentrate fully on running, and aged 32, he won the London Marathon in April 1984, and the bronze medal in the marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics later that year. 

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Hemant Patel

Hemant Patel Class of 1978 

On registration in 1979, Hemant Patel started work in community pharmacy, as a proprietor and director pharmacist from 1981. He has served four times as President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (1998-99 and 2005-08) and is a Fellow of the Society. Hemant understands community pharmacy. He specifically possesses a deep understanding of pharmacy practice, education, regulation and politics and has led innovative projects in medicines management, public health and retailing.

Jeremy Desai

Dr Jeremy Desai Class of 1981

Dr Jeremy Desai graduated from Sunderland with a BSc (Hons) Pharmacy in 1981, and is now President and Chief Operating Officer for the largest Canadian owned pharmaceutical company in the world, Apotex Inc. The company produces more than 300 generic pharmaceuticals to fulfill over 88 million prescriptions each year with sales exceeding $1 billion a year, and exports to 115 countries around the world. Dr Desai was named Alumnus of the Year in 2013.

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Mah Hussain-Gambles

Dr Mah Hussain- Gambles MBE Class of 1988

Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles is the founder of Saaf Pure Skincare, the world's first known organic and Halal certified skincare range (alcohol and animal free) delivered in accordance with an eco-ethical business model. Her pioneering work led to extensive travel, speaking at international conferences and engaging with scientists from around the world, culminating in her development of the first Halal standard for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry in 2006.   

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Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams Class of 2001

Andrea knew from a young age that she wanted to be a pharmacist after visiting the University of Sunderland on a regular basis during the holidays. Andrea’s dad, Barry Williams, worked for the University for over 45 years as a technician and then later as a lecturer. She is now a clinical specialist Pharmacist in Mental health and a mum. 

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Min Na Eii

Min Na Eii Class of 2013 

Minna is currently working at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS foundation trust as a front of house admissions ward Advanced Pharmacist Practitioner.  

Whilst at Sunderland, Minna served as SPSA President in 2012-13, and they hosted successful events throughout the year including the stop smoking campaign and an Oscar themed ball at Hardwick Hall where each Oscar goes to a 4th year pharmacy student of a theme. 

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Jo Xuan Tan

Jo Xuan Tan Class of 2020 

Jo, from Malaysia, achieved First Class Honours and received the Roz Anderson Memorial Award for her outstanding performance throughout the MPharm degree. The Memorial Award honours the memory of an inspirational scientist dedicated to improving the treatment of patients with a rare life-threatening genetic disease. 

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Frank Fish

Professor Frank Fish OBE (1924-2011) Class of 1946 

Frank Fish apprenticed to a local pharmacist before studying pharmacy at Sunderland Technical College. After being awarded his London BPharm in 1946, he took the post of Assistant Lecturer in Pharmacognosy at the Pharmacy department in Glasgow where he gained his PhD in 1955. He stayed at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Strathclyde, becoming Dean in 1977. During his time there, he set up an MSc course in Forensic Science, the only postgraduate course on the subject in the UK. 

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Garth Gunston

Garth Gunston Class of 1963

Reading Pharmacy at Sunderland led Garth to becoming the first sabbatical Students' Union President, meeting the Duke of Edinburgh, swimming across the Rio Grand, qualifying as a Pharmaceutical Chemist and then becoming a published author of drug based mystery thrillers. Garth spent ten years as a marketing executive on the international side of the in the pharmaceutical industry, then ran the UK medical communications subdivision of the US agency Omnicom. 

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Professor David Begg

Professor David I R Begg Class of 1966

David spent several years in Production Management within the Pharmaceutical Industry, culminating in the post of Pharmaceutical Production and Sterile Products Manager with Cyanamid in Gosport, Hants (now part of Pfizer).

He spent 14 years in senior management with the UK Medicines Inspectorate, inspecting pharmaceutical manufacturing sites world-wide.

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John Dawson

John Dawson Class of 1970

After graduating from Sunderland Polytechnic in 1970, John Dawson went on to build a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. He founded a prescription medicines and consumer healthcare company, Alliance Pharma Plc in 1996, that commenced trading in 1998. 

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Colin Ranshaw

Colin Ranshaw Class of 1974

Colin Ranshaw graduated in 1974 and has retained a close link with Sunderland ever since. While a student he served as SPSA President in 1973-74, and then as BPSA treasurer and President in 1974-76. He has played an active role in the Hope Winch Society, and served as Chair and then Trustee of the University of Sunderland Students' Union. He was awarded an Alumni Fellowship in November 2019 to recognise his outstanding contribution.  

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Liz Williamson

Professor Liz Williamson Class of 1978 

Professor Liz Williamson registered in 1978 and gained her PhD in medicinal plant research at the University of London School of Pharmacy. She worked in hospital and community pharmacy as a superintendent pharmacist before returning to academia as Senior Lecturer in Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy at the University of London's School of Pharmacy in 2004.In 2005, she was appointed Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Reading, where she also served as Director of Pharmacy Practice.

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Andrew Lane

Andrew Lane Class of 1982

Andrew spent his pre-registration year at Boots after graduating in 1982 and progressed to become Superintendent Pharmacist for 16 pharmacies, subsequently moving from Boots to Lloyds. He set up his own community pharmacy business, AlChem Pharma, in 2004 and now owns and operates 14 community pharmacies from Yorkshire to Devon. He became specialised in setting up pharmacies in medical centres and opened the first Lloyds Pharmacy Franchise in Aspen Medical Centre in Gloucester in 2014.  

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Christopher Cutts


Professor Chris Cutts Class of 1990


Professor Cutts early on in his career specialised as a Paediatric and Neonatal Pharmacist at the Children’s Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary.  Chris left Leicester to work in Australia as a lecturer at the University of Queensland and develop an education programme with GPs. He completed his Doctorate investigating influences on GP prescribing and their value to social marketing techniques. He returned to the UK to become Head of Medicines Management at St Helens Primary Care Trust in 2002.


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Kam Mo Lam

Kam Mo Lam Class of 2010

Kam Mo works as Clinical Pharmacist (Oncology) at the Hospital Authority, Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong. Kam Mo’s areas of interest are clinical pharmacy oncology service on solid tumors, sarcomas, palliative care and pharmacy aseptic dispensing.

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Emma Boxer

Emma Boxer Class of 2018 

Emma Boxer spent her pre-reg year split between a role in community pharmacy and working as an academic tutor at the University's Sciences Complex. Her current role, which she describes as her dream job, is as lead pharmacist at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust outpatients' department.  

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Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith 1947

Joyce Smith (née Frecker) started at Sunderland Technical College in 1944, aged 16, attracted to pharmacy because of the appeal of handling medicines. She studied for three years combining her courses at the College with a pupillage at Sunderland Royal Hospital (then Sunderland Municipal Hospital) from March 1945 to September 1947. She recalls that the classes were relatively small and mixed, including Raymond Marshall, Audrey Bullock, June Hope and Tom Turnbull. 

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John Ross

John Ross Class of 1963

John Ross has hung up the white coat and picked up the bass guitar after retiring. He is currently a member of Simon Goodall and The Bourne Again Shadows band

John has also held a Pilots license since 1979 and owns a share in an aircraft. He decided to follow his dream after spending 40 years of his working life in retail pharmacy, where he ran a successful business that he sold in 2006.

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Peter Lowe

Peter Lowe Class of 1967

Peter has been for 25 years the Secretary of the North Tyne Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) and its predecessor committees. His job involves administering and co-ordinating the LPC’s representation of community pharmacy in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, the development of pharmacy patient services and their promotion to relevant commissioning bodies.

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Margaret Ledger-Scott

Dr Margaret Ledger-Scott Class of 1973, 1986, 1996 and 2010 

Margaret’s career in hospital pharmacy spans 37 years in the North East of England, starting as a Pharmacy Assistant and retiring as Clinical Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management at County Durham and Darlington HNS Foundation Trust. Throughout that time, Margaret kept returning to the University of Sunderland to support her professional development and completed four degrees.

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Ahmad Atchia

Ahmad Atchia Class of 1974

Ahmad’s passion for Pharmacy started before completing his Higher School Certificate (equivalent to Advanced level) in Mauritius while regularly collecting medications for his aging grandfather. His career as a pharmacist spans 40 years in the North East. He was superintendent owner of a pharmacy in Stockton-on-Tees for 20 years and for a shorter period a second pharmacy in Gateshead at the same time. He is currently a locum pharmacist for Phillips Ltd.

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Stephen Jones

Dr Stephen Jones Class of 1981 

Stephen Jones graduated in 1981 and undertook at PhD in Drug Delivery at the University of Nottingham which he completed in 1985, initially joining Beecham Research Laboratories and then took a job with Sterling Winthrop in Alnwick. Following seven years working at Sterling Winthrop, he moved to Scherer Drug Delivery Systems as Technical Director in 1995 and then on to GlaxoSmithKline in 1997, initially as Senior Director, Product Development, but was promoted to Vice President, Research and Development in January 2000, a role he held until 2006. 

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Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown 1985

After graduating Stephen worked as an R&D Pharmacist for Sterling Winthrop in the UK and USA. He also completed a PhD with Prof Geoff Rowley during his time at Sterling Winthrop. Since then he has worked as a Pharmaceutical Scientist in a number of companies including Sanofi and has spent most of his career in drug product Formulation and Manufacturing. Stephen became CEO of Encap Drug Delivery and subsequently sold that business to Capsugel/Lonza. He is now working as a consultant to Pharma and Biotech companies.

Ahmad Alqallaf

Ahmad Alqallaf Class of 1999

Ahmad has been working as a pharmacist since he graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1999. He is currently the Chief Pharmacist of the Clinical Pharmacy Unit at Farwaniya Hospital in Kuwait.

Ahmad started the unit by himself and now there are 12 pharmacists working with him. He also started an association for clinical pharmacists in Kuwait.

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Matthew Crum

Dr Matthew Crum Class of 2010

Whilst at Sunderland, Matt served as SPSA Treasurer and President. After graduating, Matt undertook a split pre-registration placement between AstraZeneca and the University Hospital of South Manchester. The pre-clinical formulation projects at AZ inspired a career in pharmaceutical science. After a short stint as a community pharmacist in mid-Wales, Matt relocated to Melbourne, Australia to undertake a PhD in Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutics at Monash University.  

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Matthew Aitken

Matthew Aiken Class of 2018

“The MPharm course was perfect, mixing academic studies with placements,” Matthew says. “I never saw myself working in an office, I wanted every day to be different and this course has certainly provided that. The role of a pharmacist is changing dramatically and the clinical teaching on the course massively reflects this.”

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