Dr Adrian Bakes (1950–2016)

Remembered by Professor Erica Burman and colleagues.

Friends and colleagues remember Adrian Bakes, PhD and Chartered Psychologist specialising in learning disabilities, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Friday 25 March 2016.

Adrian was a scientist in the true sense of being fascinated by natural processes and engaging in systematic experimentation, alongside deep problem-solving and reflection to understand them better. This was the focus of his PhD on the biochemistry of various neurophysiological processes (‘On the behavioural estimation of the refractory periods of the neurons directly excited in electrical self-stimulation of the septum in rats’) undertaken at Manchester University, Department of Psychology, awarded in 1992, after a joint psychology/psychopharmacology degree also taken there. Yet he was also very definitely a humanist in his approach to life, ranging from his love of poetry, literature and music to walking in the hills, and in his keen appreciation of individual distinctive qualities and attributes that made him both a wonderful friend and a gifted clinical practitioner working with people with learning disabilities. Ever eager to read, to learn, to know more, he was a multilingual polymath whose generosity, acute interest in people and passion for life brought pleasure, understanding and support to many.

After completing his PhD (supervised by Don O’Boyle), Adrian trained as a clinical psychologist on the Manchester course and became enthused with the importance of working with people with disabilities and supporting their struggle to be heard and to assert themselves. He went on to work with people with learning disabilities in Greater Manchester and, in the latter years of his career, in the services in Glasgow. His enthusiasm and dedication remained undiminished and his influence could be felt in the development of services offering systemic interventions to people with learning disabilities and their families. He also successfully advocated for the development of practices and policies recognising the rights of people with learning disabilities to better understand and express own choices regarding their sexuality.

Compassionate and thoughtful, Adrian was generous with his time and his willingness to support and help develop the practice of others; Adrian’s influence as a supervisor and teacher remains important to the development of many trainees and staff who worked alongside him. In latter years he rediscovered his fascination with neuropsychology, studying the processes underlying autistic spectrum diagnoses. His dedication to his work remains an inspiration to the many trainees and colleagues he supervised, taught and worked alongside.

He is deeply mourned by his life partner Jack Jackson, his sister Tish and brother Oskar, and his many friends and colleagues.

Professor Erica Burman HonFBPsS
University of Manchester
Professor Ian Parker FBPsS
University of Leicester
Dr Adrian Ierna
Glasgow Learning Disabilities Service/Learning Disability Forensic Service

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