A LEADING figure in the chemical industry and a stalwart of Winnington Park Rugby Club has been killed in a road crash in Kenya.
Dr Brian Patterson, a senior member of Brunner Mond's executive management team, was working in Kenya as project director for the company's major new investment at Magadi Soda.
He was travelling along a road leading from Nairobi to Magadi, a journey he had made numerous times before, when the accident occurred on Sunday.
Little is known about the crash at the moment, other than that the car came off the road and rolled over.
Mr Patterson, who was 58, was rushed to hospital in Magadi about five miles away but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The news of Dr Patterson's death has shocked and devastated his family and many friends in the Northwich area.
His wife of more than 35 years, Val, often travelled from the family home in Acton Bridge to Kenya to be with him and returned just a few days ago.
She was yesterday visited by Mark Chitty, director of corporate affairs for Brunner Mond. He told the Chronicle: 'Brian spent his entire career with Brunner Mond and its predecessor ICI, and was a hugely respected figure in our industry.
'He will be missed, not just as a great friend and colleague, but as a man whose expertise has contributed greatly both to this company and to our customers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.'
Dr Patterson joined what was then ICI in 1986 and soon took up his first appointment in the Northwich factories where he was to spend so much of his working life. He filled key roles at both Lostock and Winnington and was European director of manufacturing for Brunner Mond prior to his most recent appointment in Kenya.
Brunner Mond chairman Peter Haslehurst said: 'We were all extremely shocked to hear of Brian's death. He was an energetic, committed member of our executive team, a loyal and supportive colleague and a highly skilful engineer. He will be sadly missed.'
Dr Patterson was a very popular and likeable man and a well-known figure in the local community. He had a long association with Winnington Park Rugby Club as player, team captain and more recently as chief executive. His two sons Mark and Carl also play for the club.
Sid Bowden, a past president of the club and a personal friend, said: 'It has been a terrible shock to everyone who knew him. We all thought the world of him. His untimely death is a tragedy for his family, and it's a tragedy for the club as well. He will be sorely missed by everyone.'
An autopsy was carried out yesterday and his body is expected to be flown home later this week.