Tag Archives: obituary

John King obituary

My husband, John King, who has died aged 68 of a stroke, worked for Newcastle social services for 30 years, first with children and then leading a team of mental health social workers in the west end of the city.

By 1994 John had realised that homeless people frequently suffered from mental illness but rarely received useful treatment, because NHS systems require an address. Without that address, homeless people remained on the outside, treated at A&E but without joined-up care plans. He therefore based a mental health social worker at Hill Court in Pitt Street, where the old brewery flats intended for night-shift workers were being used to house homeless people.

Before long, Hill Court became a model of good practice. Housing officers were on duty 24 hours a day; a GP ran sessions there; a health visitor was on call; and the social worker was able to build up a mental health record, enabling a care plan to be implemented. The work at Hill Court won national recognition when, in 1997, the Sainsbury prize for Inter-agency Co-operation in Mental Health was awarded to Newcastle city council.

John was born in London, the son of Alfred, a miller, and Lily (nee Flack). Brought up in Wood Green, north London, he went to Glendale grammar school, which became Wood Green comprehensive, and trained as a social worker at Ipswich City College. His first job was as a social worker in Wolverhampton.

In 1975 he left for Nairobi to work for a children’s charity, the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. It was in Kenya that we met. We made a surprising pair: I was a prim teacher of English in a girls’ boarding school, while he was enjoying his hippy phase, sporting shoulder-length golden ringlets and riding everywhere on a motorbike in a cloud of dust., We married in 1977.

When John was 45 he was diagnosed with polycythaemia rubra vera, a rare blood disease, and told that he would live for 10 years. In fact, he lived for another 23, thanks partly to progress in treatment of the disease but also to his determination to keep fit by cycling to work and participating in the Great North Run.

After retirement in 2013 John continued to support services for vulnerable people by volunteering, first at the east end food bank and more recently at the People’s Kitchen, a support centre for homeless and disadvantaged people in Newcastle. Four days before his death he cycled to Tweed Street allotments as usual, to harvest the remaining vegetables for the People’s Kitchen. He delighted in the shared pleasure of gardening and the companionship of breaks in the allotment shed. He was an avid Guardian reader, proud to be thrice winner of its prize crossword.

He is survived by me, our sons, Aidan, Thomas and Barnabas, and a grandson, Finlay.

John King obituary

My husband, John King, who has died aged 68 of a stroke, worked for Newcastle social services for 30 years, first with children and then leading a team of mental health social workers in the west end of the city.

By 1994 John had realised that homeless people frequently suffered from mental illness but rarely received useful treatment, because NHS systems require an address. Without that address, homeless people remained on the outside, treated at A&E but without joined-up care plans. He therefore based a mental health social worker at Hill Court in Pitt Street, where the old brewery flats intended for night-shift workers were being used to house homeless people.

Before long, Hill Court became a model of good practice. Housing officers were on duty 24 hours a day; a GP ran sessions there; a health visitor was on call; and the social worker was able to build up a mental health record, enabling a care plan to be implemented. The work at Hill Court won national recognition when, in 1997, the Sainsbury prize for Inter-agency Co-operation in Mental Health was awarded to Newcastle city council.

John was born in London, the son of Alfred, a miller, and Lily (nee Flack). Brought up in Wood Green, north London, he went to Glendale grammar school, which became Wood Green comprehensive, and trained as a social worker at Ipswich City College. His first job was as a social worker in Wolverhampton.

In 1975 he left for Nairobi to work for a children’s charity, the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. It was in Kenya that we met. We made a surprising pair: I was a prim teacher of English in a girls’ boarding school, while he was enjoying his hippy phase, sporting shoulder-length golden ringlets and riding everywhere on a motorbike in a cloud of dust., We married in 1977.

When John was 45 he was diagnosed with polycythaemia rubra vera, a rare blood disease, and told that he would live for 10 years. In fact, he lived for another 23, thanks partly to progress in treatment of the disease but also to his determination to keep fit by cycling to work and participating in the Great North Run.

After retirement in 2013 John continued to support services for vulnerable people by volunteering, first at the east end food bank and more recently at the People’s Kitchen, a support centre for homeless and disadvantaged people in Newcastle. Four days before his death he cycled to Tweed Street allotments as usual, to harvest the remaining vegetables for the People’s Kitchen. He delighted in the shared pleasure of gardening and the companionship of breaks in the allotment shed. He was an avid Guardian reader, proud to be thrice winner of its prize crossword.

He is survived by me, our sons, Aidan, Thomas and Barnabas, and a grandson, Finlay.

David Hamilton obituary

My friend and colleague David Hamilton, who has died aged 86, decided that he wanted to become a surgeon because it would allow him to use the manual skills he had learned from his father, a civil engineer and keen handyman, ion the pursuit of medicine.

He was born in Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, the son of Jack Hamilton, whose projects included the Forth Road bridge, and his wife, Helen (nee Kirk), a nurse and accomplished pianist and violinist. David was brought up as a Quaker, encouraged by Jack to believe that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well. He went to King’s College junior school, Wimbledon, in south-west London, and Leighton Park school, Reading, where he was an enthusiastic sportsman, representing England against France in a schools rugby competition in 1949.

While still at school he met Myra McAra, who became a physiotherapist; they married in 1957. After graduating at the Middlesex hospital that year, his early surgical training included cardio-thoracic surgery there. He went on to Harefield hospital, before being appointed to a senior registrar position in Liverpool in 1965.

Overseas training took him to California Pacific Medical Centre, San Francisco, after which he was appointed consultant cardiac surgeon in Liverpool in 1968. David became increasingly involved with paediatric cardiac surgery at the Royal Liverpool Children’s hospital, Myrtle Street. The success of the team at Myrtle Street over the next 15 years led the hospital to develop a reputation as one of the premier centres for surgery on congenital heart disease in the UK. Their results were among the best in Europe, if not in the world.

In 1986 David was appointed to the foundation chair of cardiac surgery in Edinburgh. He continued in that position until his retirement in 1993.

Gentlemanly, unassuming, modest and supportive of his team, David was a talented surgeon and an excellent teacher. His leadership ensured that the morale of his team was always extremely high.

In retirement David and Myra moved from Edinburgh to Merseyside, where he continued to enjoy golf, although he was increasingly affected by Parkinson’s disease. Latterly they were both cared for in a nursing home. Myra died in June.

David is survived by his sonsJames, Alastair and Ross. Another son, Ian, died last year.

Clara Malagon-Gonzalez obituary

My friend Clara Malagon-Gonzalez, who has taken her own life at the age of 22, was a critical care nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary and a kind, bright and effervescent person who brought light and joy into many people’s lives.

She had qualified as a nurse a year before her death, and was enormously proud to be working for the NHS. Not only was she hardworking; she was also courageous, as she showed when on duty during the Manchester Arena terrorist attack earlier this year.

Clara was born in Twickenham, south-west London, to Spanish parents, Maria Gonzalez, a maths teacher, and Ignacio Malagon, a consultant anaesthetist. However, with the exception of a happy year in Vancouver and some time in the Netherlands, she spent most of her childhood in Madrid, where, after her parents split up when she was four, she lived with her mother and her younger brother, Elias.

She attended the British Council school in Madrid, and as a child had a full life: as well as being a keen scout, she played the viola, took up ballet and flamenco dancing, and practised karate and rowing.

In 2013 she moved back to the UK to begin a degree in nursing at the University of Manchester. She approached life in Britain as she did everything – with endless enthusiasm and total commitment – as her love for Peep Show, Love Island, Kurupt FM, grime and UK garage attested. While studying at Manchester she juggled her nursing placement with rowing for the university and voluntary work for Citywise, a mentoring charity. And she never stopped being a generous friend; there was always time to laugh and dance.

In her third year of university Clara took up cycling. She was happiest on her bike and she spent many days riding through south Manchester to Tatton Park and Alderley Edge. Always the adventurer, in 2017 she cycled from coast to coast, spent a weekend cycling in Snowdonia and tried out the track at the Manchester velodrome.

Her friends will miss her laughter, her terrible attempt at a northern English accent, her generosity and her warmth.

She is survived by her parents, Elias and her grandparents.

Clara Malagon-Gonzalez obituary

My friend Clara Malagon-Gonzalez, who has taken her own life at the age of 22, was a critical care nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary and a kind, bright and effervescent person who brought light and joy into many people’s lives.

She had qualified as a nurse a year before her death, and was enormously proud to be working for the NHS. Not only was she hardworking; she was also courageous, as she showed when on duty during the Manchester Arena terrorist attack earlier this year.

Clara was born in Twickenham, south-west London, to Spanish parents, Maria Gonzalez, a maths teacher, and Ignacio Malagon, a consultant anaesthetist. However, with the exception of a happy year in Vancouver and some time in the Netherlands, she spent most of her childhood in Madrid, where, after her parents split up when she was four, she lived with her mother and her younger brother, Elias.

She attended the British Council school in Madrid, and as a child had a full life: as well as being a keen scout, she played the viola, took up ballet and flamenco dancing, and practised karate and rowing.

In 2013 she moved back to the UK to begin a degree in nursing at the University of Manchester. She approached life in Britain as she did everything – with endless enthusiasm and total commitment – as her love for Peep Show, Love Island, Kurupt FM, grime and UK garage attested. While studying at Manchester she juggled her nursing placement with rowing for the university and voluntary work for Citywise, a mentoring charity. And she never stopped being a generous friend; there was always time to laugh and dance.

In her third year of university Clara took up cycling. She was happiest on her bike and she spent many days riding through south Manchester to Tatton Park and Alderley Edge. Always the adventurer, in 2017 she cycled from coast to coast, spent a weekend cycling in Snowdonia and tried out the track at the Manchester velodrome.

Her friends will miss her laughter, her terrible attempt at a northern English accent, her generosity and her warmth.

She is survived by her parents, Elias and her grandparents.

Geoffrey Schild obituary

The microbiologist Geoffrey Schild, who has died aged 82, did much to help halt the spread of influenza, polio and Aids. It was he who proposed the concept of a universal flu vaccine, a goal still sought today.

In 1969, two years after joining the World Health Organisation’s influenza centre, based at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, north London, Geoffrey was appointed its director. He wanted to see how the need for a new influenza vaccine each year could be avoided.

The need to renew vaccines arose because the influenza virus contains outside spike proteins that are constantly evolving. Geoffrey concentrated on the virus proteins in the internal core of the virus. He found that these internal proteins were not only shared by all human influenza viruses, but by influenza viruses found in pigs and birds. This pointed to the possibility of a universal influenza vaccine that could be active against new, emerging viruses, including those from animal sources, thus eliminating the need for annual change.

Better still, influenza vaccine could be stockpiled in case of an epidemic. It happens that the first widespread human testing of a universal vaccine has just started, in a trial aiming to involve 500 people aged 65 and over in Berkshire and Oxfordshire this winter.

In 1975 Geoffrey became head of the viral products division at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in Hampstead, north London. There he focused his efforts, alongside the virologist John Wood, on standardising conventional influenza vaccines to ensure that, when manufactured, they would always contain the same quantity of influenza protein. The WHO quickly identified this as a breakthrough, and by 1978 Geoffrey’s method of standardising vaccines was made obligatory for all new influenza vaccines around the world.

On being appointed the director of NIBSC in 1985, Geoffrey set up a polio research group. At the time, children were being given live polio vaccine. Geoffrey’s team followed what happened when children were given the polio virus to swallow. He realised that live polio virus could occasionally mutate and become virulent again. Though it was rare, it did happen. Thanks to the team’s work, live polio vaccine is no longer in use.

In this period, too, when the Aids crisis first broke, Geoffrey was given the task of directing the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Aids programme in Britain, bringing together medics and scientists from the UK, the US and the rest of the EU to develop vaccines for the prevention of Aids, and drugs for the treatment of HIV infection. Geoffrey’s aim was to get work on Aids moving quickly and efficiently. He divided teams into two arms: the strategic programme, which worked on the nature of Aids and its treatment, as well as monitoring the spread of HIV, and the second arm, which focused on developing drugs and vaccines.

The programme had its detractors: the MRC was criticised for repeating vaccine experiments in monkeys that had already been done in the US, for example. But it also had successes.

The Anglo-French Concorde trial, sponsored by the MRC and a French research agency, was the biggest clinical trial of the drug AZT ever conducted. It showed that the drug could not delay the onset of Aids in HIV-positive people or increase their life expectancy. The results were published in the Lancet and made headlines worldwide. Nonetheless, this negative result stimulated researchers elsewhere to discover three new classes of anti-Aids drugs that have since transformed the clinical management of people with Aids.

The job of directing multinational researchers could be tumultuous. Geoffrey’s technique when faced with a room full of squabbling scientists was to wink, surreptitiously. He had such an open face and such a smiley one; it always worked.

Born in Sheffield, Geoffrey was one of four children of Christopher Schild, a travelling salesman, and his wife, Georgina (nee Kirby). He went to High Storrs grammar school in Sheffield and then Reading University, where he completed a degree in microbiology in 1958.

After graduating, Geoffrey worked for the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson for two years, then decided to do a PhD, at Sheffield University, focusing on the common cold virus.

We met at Lodge Moor hospital, where I was also studying for a PhD, and our supervisor, Sir Charles Stuart-Harris, had set up a research group in virology as part of the university’s medical school. We focused on growing viruses. Sometimes it would all go wrong and Geoffrey would say: “Just chuck it out and start again.” His attitude to everything was “never give up”.

It was also at Lodge Moor that Geoffrey met Tora Madland, a Norwegian pharmacist and British Council scholar. Geoffrey and Tora were married in 1961.His research continued in Sheffield for another six years.

In 1993 Geoffrey was appointed CBE, and nine years later he retired from the NIBSC. Part of his legacy there is the library of carefully grown viruses that he helped set up so that scientists around the world could access the high-quality specimens needed for their research.

He was also author of at least 300 scientific papers. One of the most important, co-authored with the virologist John Skehel, introduced a new system for classifying the thousands of influenza strains isolated in animals and humans. The classification system is still in use by WHO laboratories today.

Geoffrey is survived by Tora, their three children, Oystein, Ingrid and Peter, and two grandchildren.

Geoffrey Christopher Schild, microbiologist, born 28 November 1935; died 3 August 2017

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.

Maurice Little obituary

My father, Maurice Little, who has died aged 75, was a dedicated and skilled paediatrician, a committed volunteer for a number of charities and a loving father and husband.

He was born near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, during the second world war, to Emily (nee Ross) and John Little, who were dairy farmers. After attending Portora Royal school in Enniskillen Maurice read medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, graduating in 1965 and then leaving Northern Ireland to work in Liverpool at the Alder Hey hospital.

There he met Lorna Marchesi, a medical student. They married in 1970 and moved to Canada, where Maurice took up a fellowship in paediatric neurology at Kingston General hospital in Ontario. They loved their time in Canada, which included a secondment to an Inuit settlement on Hudson Bay; Maurice was always interested in meeting people from different cultures and was keen to learn how other people thought and lived.

My parents returned to Cardiff in 1973, where Maurice took up a senior registrar post at the University Hospital of Wales before moving to Kent in 1976. There he worked at All Saints hospital in Chatham as a consultant paediatrician. He mentored many people, to whom his advice was often simple, including the mantra: “Always listen to the mother.” Many families owed him a debt of gratitude for his tireless commitment to child health.

As well as numerous teaching and advisory roles and work with the Royal College of Paediatrics, Maurice worked for various charities, including Cancer and Leukaemia in Children, with whom he created a home care service for children with life-threatening illnesses. He also travelled to Romania and Palestine to teach and offer advice on clinical services.

After his retirement he was a member of the independent monitoring board of Rochester prison, in Kent, for more than a decade. He was a keen linguist and attended Irish and Spanish classes for many years.

He and Lorna loved to travel and had friends around the globe. In later years he was a devoted grandfather, never more in his element than when calming a crying baby in his expert hands. We called him “the baby whisperer”.

He is survived by Lorna, his three children, James, Katherine and me, and two grandsons, Billy and Fergus.