Tributes paid to '˜wonderful' science expert

An expert who was called in as part of the investigation into the alleged toxic chemical leak in South Tyneside, has died aged 55.

Thursday, 26th April 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th April 2018, 2:21 pm
Paul Younger.
Paul Younger.

Hebburn-born Professor Paul Younger was educated at what was then St Joseph’s Grammar School before going to Newcastle University.

He became one of the region’s leading scientists, working at the university from 1992 to 2012.

A distinguished hydrogeologist and environmental engineer, his team won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2005.

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He became Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear in 2009 and it was as a resident of Birtley he was made Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Gateshead in 2011.

He also delivered the town’s inaugural Thomas Hepburn Lecture.

Prof Younger left for a post at Glasgow University in 2012, retiring last year.

Twenty years ago he was called as an expert witness in the claims that an old rubbish dump at Trow Rock, South Shields, was causing polution

His friend, Coun John McCabe, said: “Paul was an inspiration and a genius, but also a very humble man.

“He was brought into the inquiry as an expert witness.

“He did his tests at Trow Rocks and, within about two minutes of giving evidence, he had shot down the argument that the site was dangerous.

“It’s largely because of him that we now have such a wonderful, protected beach at Trow Rocks.

“He was a wonderful local man. His death is big loss to the world.”

Gateshead Council Leader Councillor Martin Gannon said: “It was with deep sadness that we heard of his death at so young an age and with so much expertise to still give to the world.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Louise and their three sons.”