John Wills joined NIMR in 1971 as a Junior Technical Officer in the Division of Virology. In the lab he worked successively with James Porterfield, Willy Russell and Bob Honess. His abilities were noticed and John progressed through the ranks to become Principal Technician or the Division then in 1987 was appointed as overall Laboratory Manager for the Institute. In 1998 he was appointed as Assistant Director. During the course of his career Wills worked with six successive Institute Directors, and was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to science. He retired at the end of July 2013, but has continued to work part-time at the Institute. Wills created an environment where scientists, administrators and technical support staff worked well together in a friendly environment. He was widely respected both within the Institute and by staff at MRC Head Office. His overriding aim was to provide a first-rate service for scientists, to allow research to flourish.