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Tuesday, 10 July 2012
CAROL WENGRAF (nee Slack)
World fencing champion 2011 (70+ group)
Carol was very much looking forward to
attending our Reunion in September but sadly died suddenly on Saturday 23rd
June 2012, in Santiago de Campostela in Spain.
She was generally acknowledged to be a
bright and vivacious student although she thought of herself as a shy and
retiring person in those days.
After qualification she decided that
she wanted to train as a surgeon at a
time when female Consultant Surgeons were very unusual anywhere. Her ability and determination helped her
through the early years and she selected ENT surgery as her particular
speciality. Apparently Phillip Reading
was particularly supportive, perhaps
because he appreciated that she had all the appropriate qualities needed for a
successful surgical career.
As a Consultant she was charming to her patients
and warmly appreciated by the Registrars she trained. She expected high standards both of herself
and of her staff and insisted on being informed whenever any of her patients was going to be operated on day or night. If they did not, she firmly reminded them which name was posted over the patient's bed and who therefore held ultimate responsibility. She herself worked hard and
would not tolerate a waiting list. This refusal to allow a waiting list to delay
the treatment of her patients must have put her at odds with those Consultants
whose private practices benefitted from long NHS waiting lists. Eventually she tired of discord with her
fellow ENT Consultants and she left South East London and moved to Hull where
she carried a very high clinical load.
Carol wanted to do something active outside of medicine and she
began to develop an interest in the sport of fencing which her son David then aged about 14-15 was
already practising. Typical of Carol she
worked hard at it and soon was beginning to win in the veterans classes (over 40
yrs) which encouraged her even further.
In the eleven years since retirement she won a variety of British,
European and World titles. Her medals
are proudly displayed in her home in
Carol was however carrying the
burden of serious ill-health which she
did her best to ignore. She knew that
she might die suddenly in competition but felt that would be preferable to an
unedifying decline and decided to continue with the sport she loved.
In International competitions she
fenced for Wales and was doing just that in Spain recently. She had fenced in the morning and had
enjoyed it. In the afternoon while on
the piste with sword in hand she collapsed very suddenly and despite long
continued efforts could not be resuscitated .
The very many warm tributes from the fencing community stand
testament to the high regard she was held in.
Tributes were also received from those she had trained as registrars,
from ex-patients, friends and
family. The common theme was “a lovely lady” .
Carol, so sad
that you cannot be with us on Sept 15th,but so typical of you to go down fighting! (compiled by David Turner)