Summer Issue, 2016 - page 57

In Memory of
Professor Brian Lofts
(1929–2015)
• Head and Chair Professor, Department of Zoology (1967–1989)
• Pro-Vice-Chancellor (1981–1984)
• Emeritus Professor
I
t is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Professor Brian Lofts, our Emeritus Professor, on the 6th of
December, 2015 at a hospital in Norwich, at the age of 86.
Professor Lofts’ exceptional research achievements were well recognised internationally. He was the Fellow of the
Institute of Biology (which was later merged with the Biosciences Federation to form the Society of Biology), a Fellow
of the Zoological Society, and a Doctor of Science (Zoology), and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He
was also elected as the Honorary Member by The Hong Kong Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction
in 1988 and was a Justice of the Peace.
Professor Lofts was renowned and respected for his lifelong dedication to the disciplines of biology and zoology.
During his 22 years of service at HKU, Professor Lofts was keen to promote conservation and zoology. He was one
of the founders of the Conservancy Association in Hong Kong in 1968. He actively engaged his students to research
on the physiology and endocrinology of Hong Kong’s reptiles and amphibians. He published several popular titles in
biology, including
Photopériodisme animal
and
Animal Photoperiodism (Studies in Biology)
.
We honour the memory of Professor Lofts for his lifetime dedicated to endocrinology scientific research. He will be
dearly missed by all whose lives he touched.
Professor Sun Kwok
Dean of Science (2006-2016)
I
n late 1969, I received a letter from Brian Lofts asking if I would be interested in applying for a position in the
Zoology Department of HKU. I replied that I was, duly applied, was interviewed at the Office of the Association
of Commonwealth Universities and finally received another letter from Brian inviting me to meet him in London.
He explained that he would meet me under the clock in Victoria Station at a certain time and date and that I would
be able to recognise him by his distinctive striped jacket that made him look like an ice-cream seller. On arrival at
Victoria after a two-hour train ride from England’s south coast, I saw Brian, approached him and said “Hello, I’m also
Brian; can I have two cornets please?” He looked at me for a few seconds and then said: “why do you want two?” I
replied that “I want to take one back to Sussex for my wife!” Again, he looked at me for a few seconds and then roared
with laughter. “Come on,” he said, “let’s get a cup of coffee.” We chatted over coffee for about an hour, he explained
that he wanted to restart the teaching of marine biology at HKU and asked if I was up to the job. I said that I thought I
was and, really, that was that. I received the official telegram of appointment a few weeks later.
That was Brian: always immaculately dressed, affable, cheerful and friendly. The epitome of an English (but actually
Welsh) gentleman. As with every University in the 1970s, he ran the Zoology Department of HKU as a kind, benevolent
dictator. We as staff had no input into the department’s budget or its allocation: instead we just asked for what we
needed and typically got it. In 20 years of working with Brian, I never had a single argument with him, his office
door was always open, we talked often, he helped my career along and occasionally he circuitously sought my advice.
When he retired in 1989, I had affectionately known my ice-cream vendor for 20 years and was very sorry to see him
peddle off. It is also very sad that he has now died taking a big chunk of my life with him.
Professor Brian Morton
Emeritus Professor
I
n his capacity as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Lofts was Chairman of the Management Committee of the Fung
Ping Shan Museum from 1978 until 1986. He was deeply interested in Chinese works of art and antiquities, and
together with Mr Duncan Mackintosh of the Department of Extra–Mural Studies and myself were three of the seven
founding members of the Oriental Ceramics Society (OCS) of Hong Kong set up in March 1974. He was the Society’s
Honorary Treasurer from the beginning until 1986 and on departure was elected Honorary Life Member of the
Society. He and his wife Claudine had a small collection themselves and before leaving Hong Kong donated a pair
of early Qing mother-of-pearl inlay plates to the Museum. Apart from ex-HKU colleagues and students he will be
remembered with affection by members of the OCS, a society that has remained active here in Hong Kong.
Ellie Alleyne
王蘅
(BA 1952)
Registrar (1980 –1985)
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