John Buekett studied at Sir John Cass College (now a constituent of London Metropolitan University) and in 1953 was awarded a BSc degree in Chemistry. He was employed successively as an analyst at BDH Ltd, R F Milton consultants and Glaxo Laboratories. After National Service as an electronics technician in the Royal Corps of Signals, he joined Costain Construction as a quality control scientist for materials and manufacturing.
Costain's were one of the first contractors to manufacture prestressed concrete elements and John had particular involvement with the production and quality control of railway sleepers. As the use of concrete sleepers (railroad ties) became an international business John supervised the installation and commissioning of new concrete plants in Europe, Australia, Africa and North America. Later, as Technical Director, he dealt with problems involving railroad tie durability, which required much travel to the USA and Canada to diagnose and remedy causes.
In 1955, John passed the examination to become an Associate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and that same year was elected a Member of the Society of Chemical Industry. He was a staunch and reliable supporter of the SCI Construction Materials Group, a long time Committee Member, sometime Treasurer and ultimately Chairman. John helped organise a number of successful technical meetings for the Group, including notably the 1990 International Conference on "Corrosion of Reinforcement in Concrete".
John was given the SCI Distinguished Service Award in 2001 in recognition of his services to the Society and in 2007 Mrs Margaret Bessey made a presentation to him of the first George Bessey Award for his long and distinguished services to the Construction Materials Group. He was a Life Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and received his gold membership badge in 2005.
John was active in local affairs in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, including being a leading member of school governance and contributor and participant in local history studies. He was interested in industrial heritage and was a continuing contributor to meetings on railway matters.
John's wife, Patricia, predeceased him some years ago. We send condolences and sympathy to his family, especially daughters Jane, Sarah and Mary.