Tributes paid to helicopter victim

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a Wigan-born academic killed in a helicopter crash in Australia.

John Dunlop died after the chopper he was travelling in crashed and caught fire in Wollongong, South of Sydney.

The 66-year-old is survived by partner of 15 years, Vivian Cateaux, sons Simon, Jonathan and Andrew, granddaughter Isabella and brother Peter.

Hailing from Beech Hill, the former Wigan Grammar School student was described by his family as having many incredible achievements.

Cousin, Susie Ventura, 61, said: “John had an extremely successful career and will always be remembered by many for his many accolades.For us we have so many memories of his younger days. He used to walk me to school and was so much fun. I will never forget that.”

John was the son of Dorothy and Herbert Dunlop, who owned a popular grocery shop in Beech Hill.

As a child, it was known that he would search bookshelves and read quietly. He never seemed to forget anything he read and in later years was a Trivial Pursuit champion.

In 1969 he married Wendy, and bore three sons, but the marriage ended in divorce.

He moved to Australia in 1976 after completing a BSc in physics with honours, followed by a PhD at Imperial London. John went on to become a solid-state physicist (study of solids), with a particular interest in metal physics and the magnetic properties of hard magnetic materials.

He also worked with the University of Sheffield and the University of Genoa, Italy, specialising in scientific research.

He was part of the team that developed a pilot plant for the production of a rare-earth magnet, which was an extremely successful project and resulted in the formation of a sister company. And as part of his many achievements, he also contributed to the development of methods for producing titanium-based alloys.

Just before his death in March, John and Vivian began exploring the country. Recently he had researched how to build a house that required no heating or cooling, had triple-glazed windows and ducted air to keep the house at a constant temperature.