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Obituary

John Raymond Muggeridge(MBE) Born 15 August 1909 Died 30 March 2001

John, aka Jack Muggeridge, civil engineer, soldier and humanitarian, has died aged 91.

The youngest son of Henry Thomas Muggeridge MP and brother to the journalist and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge, Jack forged his own career in civil engineering, starting in local government in the 1930s.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Jack joined the Civil Defence Service before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers.

There he was selected to work with Donald Bailey on Bailey's brainchild, a bridge made of flat panels erected using rudimentary tools and minimal manpower.

After the war Jack returned to local government before leaving the UK in 1958 to work as provincial engineer for the Ministry of Works in Northern Nigeria, where he used his Bailey Bridge experience to good effect, replacing numerous bridges swept away by floods.

He was awarded the MBE in 1969. Following Nigeria's independence in 1971 he was appointed chief engineer to the Kaduna Capital Development Board with the task of developing the new state capital, Sokoto. He was for many years a close advisor and friend to politician and later president Alhagi Shehu Shagari, deposed in a military coup in 1984.

Leaving Nigeria in 1980, Jack spent six months in Malaysia with Oxfam supervising the maintenance and improvement of refugee camps set up to care for Vietnamese boat people. He found this 'an unforgettable experience', which crystallised for him the desperate need for engineers with the qualifications and expertise necessary for laying on basic services such as clean drinking water and sanitation.

Returning to the UK, he became secretary to the newly formed Register of Engineers for Disaster Relief (RedR), with which he worked until he retired in 1990.

In retirement Jack kept a keen civil engineer's interest in the problems surrounding the Millennium Bridge, the design and execution of which he greatly admired. Drawing on his long experience in Nigeria, he maintained that all bridges needed to have considerable natural movement and that this feature of the Millennium Bridge should have been exploited as an interesting attribute rather than a problem to eliminate.

He is survived by his wife Sylvia (nee Jenkins), four sons, one daughter, eleven grandchildren and a great grandson.

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