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Family of first man treated with penicillin visit Carnarvon Place and Newtown Road Cemetery in Newbury

The family of the first man ever treated with penicillin made a rare visit to Newbury last week.

The family of Berkshire police constable, Albert Alexander — the first man in the world to be treated with penicillin — visited Newbury on Thursday, June 29 from California to see their relative’s grave at Newtown Road Cemetery and his dedicated blue plaque at Carnarvon Place in Andover Road.

And newburytoday were present to capture the whole Crop Imagesoccasion.

Linda Willason, Sheila LeBlanc and Karen LeBlanc by the family grave
Linda Willason, Sheila LeBlanc and Karen LeBlanc by the family grave

Mr Alexander’s 90-year-old daughter Sheila LeBlanc and his granddaughters Linda Willason and Karen LeBlanc were joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Newbury Nigel Foot and Sarah Slack, Thames Valley Police chief inspector Andrew Hunt, retired police officer and local historian David Stubbs and Newtown Road Cemetery Friends Brian Sylvester and David Clow — who discovered the history of Mr Alexander while researching the people buried in the cemetery — and fellow members Carol Brindley, Doug Larsen and Lynette Edwell.

After visiting the blue plaque in Carnarvon Place, the family went to the cemetery where Mr Foot formally presented Mrs LeBlanc with a framed certificate and were photographed by the grave where Mr Alexander’s wife, Edith, is also buried.

Albert Alexander
Albert Alexander

The Cemetery Friends also presented Mrs LeBlanc with a miniature set of her father’s war medals, which she proudly wore for the remainder of the visit, staying for refreshments in the cemetery.

They later visited the police house in Wootton where Mrs LeBlanc lived with her parents and brother Brian Alexander until her father’s illness.

After his death, Edith Alexander had to vacate the Wootton police house for the next officer to occupy and her two children were taken into a police orphanage.

They later rejoined their mother and stayed in the Newbury area, until Mrs LeBlanc met and married an American GI and emigrated to the United States.

Her mother and brother stayed in the Newbury area.

The Cemetery Friends record her mother as being buried in the same grave as her father, but they are currently uncertain of where her brother is buried.

Mr Alexander’s family are honoured guests at the World Congress of Pharmacology in Glasgow from July 2 to 7, where they will receive official recognition for their late father’s key role in the history of pharmacology.

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