Meningitis Research foundation (MRF) is very sad to learn of the death of Harold Lambert earlier this month. Harold was a revered former vice-chair and trustee of MRF and a great friend to the charity. He will be sorely missed. He died peacefully at home, aged 90.
Professor Lambert was an expert in infectious diseases, and specifically in antibiotic therapy. He trained at Cambridge University and University College Hospital. After training in medicine and conducting research in microbiology he became consultant physician, and later Professor, at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London where he was instrumental in establishing Infection as an academic speciality. For many years he was co-editor of the primary textbook on antibiotic therapy “Antibiotic and Chemotherapy”. He also helped in the development of pyrazinamide as a treatment for tuberculosis. His chief interests were meningitis, respiratory infections and the rational use of antibiotics. He has published widely on these topics.
After retiring from clinical practice in 1989 he continued to be very active, serving on Meningitis Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Panel as vice-chair and later joining our board of trustees and becoming the charity’s medical advisor. He also continued to contribute a great deal to academic life at St George’s – at seminars, lectures and Jenner Research Days. Harold and his wife Joan were also the creative force in establishing a Water Garden at St George’s so that patients and their families could escape the hospital environment.
Professor Sir Brian Greenwood said: “He was one of the few people who kept clinical infectious disease research alive in the UK in the 1960s when it was almost moribund. He has always been very modest but it is very important that his major contributions are recognised.”
Dr Ed Kaczmarski said: “Harold's infectious diseases unit was one of the first 'firms' I was assigned to when starting clinical studies at St George's in 1975 and sparked my interest in the field. He was an inspirational teacher and has continued to be wonderful mentor and colleague.”
Professor Nigel Klein said: “I had the good fortune to work with Harold at St George's Hospital, a few years before he retired. It was working with Harold that stimulated me to pursue a career in Infectious Diseases. “ These comments were echoed by many other former MRF Scientific Advisory Panel members who served at the same time as Harold and all expressed their sadness at his death."
Linda Glennie, MRF’s Head of Research said: “I spoke to Harold a few weeks before he died and he was as gracious and humorous as ever. I have known him for more than 20 years – he has been helping and guiding MRF ever since I began working at the charity. Despite being such a towering figure in UK medicine, he has always been unpretentious, kind, and ready to listen and has helped me a lot. We all appreciate the tremendous help and insightful guidance he has given MRF, both as trustee and vice chair of the Panel. His huge contribution to medicine and teaching has been instrumental in creating a climate where research into meningitis in the UK can thrive.”
We extend heartfelt sympathies to Harold's wife Joan and their three children Jane, Helen and David.