Dr Ashok Kumar obituary

The University regrets to announce the sudden death of Dr Ashok Kumar MP on Monday 15 March.

Ashok gained not just one, but four degrees from Aston - a BSc in Chemical Engineering in 1978, an MSc in Process Analysis and Development in 1980, a PhD in Fluid Mechanics awarded in 1983 and an Honorary Degree in 2007.

After leaving Aston, Ashok spent time as a Research Fellow at Imperial College before joining British Steel as a Research Scientist. In 1987 he became a Councillor for Middlesbrough Borough Council - a position he held for ten years, alongside his job at British Steel – and went on to become the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, having briefly served as MP for Langbaurgh from 1991-1992. For almost thirteen years, Ashok served his constituency with distinction, showing demonstrable improvements in the economy, employment levels, education, policing and health.

As one of only six people in the House of Commons with an Engineering background, he ensured that the engineering point of view was considered. He was able to utilise his scientific knowledge and experience to good effect, and was a Board Member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, a Member of the Parliamentary Scientific Committee, Chair of the Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies, and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Chemical Industry. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Hilary Benn MP, the Environment Secretary.

Ashok was a loyal and passionate supporter of the University and assisted with many alumni events. He will be deeply missed.

There will be a commemoration ceremony for Ashok at 2pm this Friday (19 March) at Guisborough Methodist Church, Westgate, Guisborough, which is open to anyone who knew him. Please call Louise Russell on ext 4637 for details.

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