Wife pays tribute to academic Andrew 'fascinated by the world'

Andrew Cowan of Stretham and ex-Cambridge academic

Andrew Cowan of Stretham studied a geography degree in Cambridge before moving onto a PhD in glaciology in the city. - Credit: Family

The wife of an academic researcher who was “just so fascinated by how the world worked” has paid tribute to him. 

Andrew Cowan of Stretham moved to Scotland before studying the likes of geography and glaciology in Cambridge, as well as enjoying trips to the arctic. 

His wife Anne said: “I think he was always a great reader, gregarious and was very good talking to people.” 

Andrew died on July 20 aged 77. 

Andrew Cowan of Stretham

Andrew attended primary school in London before moving to Scotland during his childhood. - Credit: Family

Born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire on November 7, 1944, Andrew moved to London to attend primary school while his father worked at University College London. 

Andrew then lived in Scotland and went to high school in Glasgow, which he found tough. 

“They used corporal punishment, so he didn’t go to school much,” said Anne.  

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“He spent most of the time playing truant, sitting in churches or in libraries so he was self-educated to a large extent.” 

After a spell in the merchant navy until his twenties, Andrew returned to England to complete his A-Levels. 

Andrew Cowan of Stretham

Andrew, a Rolling Stones fan, took 10 trips to the arctic while at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. - Credit: Family

And it was his interest in the environment that led him to studying a geography degree at the former Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. 

“He also studied a PhD at in glaciology studying sea ice at St John’s College, Cambridge,” Anne said. 

“He worked in the early days when they collected data on climate.” 

When he joined the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, Andrew completed 10 trips to the arctic but a stroke cut short his time there. 

As well as being a hi-tech companies director before retiring in the early 2000s, the Rolling Stones fan was a keen reader of subjects from political science to biochemistry. 

Andrew Cowan of Stretham with step-grandchild

Andrew, pictured with his step-grandchild, married wife Anne in 2006 and was a regular visitor to Ely city centre. - Credit: Family

Andrew also liked roaming in and around Ely city centre. 

“He would go into Silver Oak Coffee, people would grab a table and talk to him,” Anne recalled. 

“He would talk to anybody.” 

Anne, who married Andrew in 2006, says her husband “knew a bit about a lot of things. 

“He was just so fascinated by how the world worked,” she added. 

Andrew is survived by brother Colin, two sons and one step-grandchild. 

A funeral service will be held at Ely Cathedral on Thursday, August 18 at 2pm.