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Colin Arnold Fothergill, 1926-2008



Colin Fothergill was born on 2 October 1926 in Thorpe Bay, a small coastal town near Shoeburyness, Essex. After primary education locally, he passed common entrance to Bishops Stortford College, Herts. During secondary education there from 1939-44 he developed lasting interests in the Earth sciences and classical church music.

At the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London, he studied petroleum technology, graduating Bachelor of Science (Oil Technology) with first class honours in1948. He then joined the Kuwait Oil Company as a staff geologist before deciding to return to London in 1954 to become a lecturer at the Royal School of Mines, where he remained until 1970. During these 16 years as an exemplary lecturer, he was awarded a PhD (1954) for research on Venezuelan sedimentary reservoirs and was actively engaged in consulting projects, notably both for VC Illing and Partners and Place Oil and Gas. His research ranged from identifying subsurface gas storage traps onshore southern England to assessing petroleum in the North Sea, Caribbean and the Far East.

On the family front, Colin married Margaret Mann in 1955 and set up his permanent home at Eves Cottage, Danbuty, Essex, where their sons Mark and Simon were born in 1958 and 1960. Margaret died in 1972, a tragedy for all the family. Colin never remarried.

In 1971 he joined Trinidad Canadian Oils (later Tricentrol) as chief geologist with worldwide responsibility for the company’s exploration activities. Colin later became a director of both Tricentrol North Sea Ltd. and Thistle Development Ltd. From 1981 to 87 he was exploration consultant to Kepplinger McCord Lewis, before rounding out his professional career as an expert witness in mining cases, while also acting as oil and gas advisor to Sussex County Council.

Retirement in 1990 did not preclude his continuing interests in both church organ recitals and geological research. In the geological direction he intended to produce a review of East Anglian sequences linked to the southern North Sea gas field province, but increasing ill-health and debilitating operations took their toll and Colin Fothergill died suddenly on 5 November 2008, aged 82 - a great shock and loss to his family, widespread friends, colleagues and former students.

Colin was a Fellow and former member of Council (1980-82) of the Geological Society, a Member of the Institute of Petroleum (now the Energy Institute), where he also served for three years on Council and was awarded their Award of Council in 1981, which year also saw him serve as Chairman of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain. He also served on the Council of the Association for the Promotion of an Institution of Professional Geologists from 1975-77 as a co-opted member, prior to the foundation of the Institution of Geologists.

David Pascoe