Monday, 10 September 2012


              I was one of the fortunate students who were accepted for the 1st MB course at Guy’s with only languages at A level - French and Spanish. It was a very special first year both in terms of the excellent, medically orientated, teaching in basic science, very new to me, and for the life long friendships I made. Two of those contemporaries, Ian Boyd and Alan Clark, both went into General Practice, but both have now died.

The second year was the most significant. I met a first year dental student, Anita Thomas, at a CU meeting in the stark surroundings of a pathology lab. We married on 15 September 1962. By happy coincidence this reunion will take place on our Golden Wedding Anniversary! My HS posts were at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford where we were fortunate enough to live in some of the first married quarters for junior doctors. It was a tiny flat in a terraced house and our neighbours were Mike and Audrey Crowe with Dick and Diana Nicholson also in Guildford.

After some indecision about the direction to take I decided I liked shiny tools and took time out to study for the FRCS while Anita earned the bread and butter in dental practice. The arrival of our first child necessitated my rapid return to work. The only post available locally was in ENT which I gratefully took. This became my hugely enjoyed speciality. The next step was as registrar to Miles Foxen at the Westminster Hospital, a wonderful mentor and teacher. His whole approach to patients and wise words of caution have stayed with me; “Every silver lining has a cloud!”

We then had two very happy years in Oxford. I was the University Tutor in Otolaryngology and worked at the Radcliffe Infirmary before moving to Exeter as one of two ENT consultants at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Collateral to the day job I became involved in clinical management and eventually became Medical Director of the Trust. I always enjoyed seeing the wider perspective and spent some time as Regional Adviser for Surgery and Hon Sec of the British Society of Otolaryngologists as well as looking after a Section of the RSM for a delightful President from Ireland.

After retirement I became Medical Director of an Independent Sector Company providing surgical and diagnostic services to NHS patients and then moved to another ISTC running two NHS renal dialysis centres. A challenging time being on the ‘dark side’ external to the NHS while still looking after NHS patients with highly committed teams.

Current jobs are Chair of Trustees for Hospiscare, a local charity based in Exeter, and of Butterfly Children’s Hospices, a charity which runs a small hospice for very sick babies in Changsha, China. Recently I have become a trustee to the Board of Help the Hospices, the member organization for all UK independent hospices. Our three children are married with ten children between them. The grandchildren holiday with us in Topsham on the river Exe, just south of Exeter and share our love of cycling and sailing. A son and daughter studied medicine and physio respectively at Guy’s. So we all owe Guy’s a huge debt of gratitude.

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