Les Halpin 1957-2013
Les Halpin was widely recognised as one of the sharpest minds in the UK. As a statistician, he was an active investor in a number of start-up companies in the financial and high tech areas, and held an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter. Les was born in London and brought up in Essex when his father moved to England after escaping from Burma during the Japanese invasion of 1942.
He attended the local grammar school and was the first member of his family to attend university. He graduated from Exeter University in 1976 with a first class degree in Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research, during which time he met his wife Claire who was studying Biological Sciences.
After gaining experience with Barclays Bank, British Gas and Lloyds Bank International, Les went on to spend 23 years with Record Treasury Management, offering currency investment and hedging services to pension funds.
When the company was floated on the stock exchange in 2007 he joined Lightfoot Solutions, which uses statistical analysis to improve organisational performance, becoming Chairman in January 2009.
Les was a passionate philanthropists, having donated over one million pounds, creating the Halpin PhD Scholarship Programme at the University of Exeter providing opportunities to students from rice growing developing countries and funding research into ‘rice blast’, a plant disease that each year kills enough rice to feed 60 million people. Exeter researchers are now leading the way in understanding the molecular biology of the disease, helping develop effective and durable controls. He was also a significant donor towards Exeter Business School’s new café and learning space and was on the Business School’s Advisory Board.
Les founded the campaign after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in May 2011. In a relatively short time, the Campaign has gained significant momentum and it was Les’ clear wish that it continues its progress. His vision was that one day, sooner rather than later, the Halpin Protocol will be reality, enabling patients to access medicines in the earlier stages of development, under the supervision of their consultant, that may improve or prolong their lives while providing invaluable trial data for future generations.