Lives of the fellows

Peter James Knapton

b.14 September 1934 d.29 January 1984
MB ChB Leeds(1957) MRCP(1962) FRCP(1979)

Peter James (Jim) Knapton died at the early age of 49. He was born near Bradford where he went to school in his early years, moving on to Clifton College, Bristol. He entered Leeds Medical School in 1952 and qualified in 1957, gaining a distinction and the Mayo-Robson prize in surgery, and the Hardwicke prize in clinical medicine. His main interest, however, was in medicine rather than surgery and after completing house appointments in Leeds he moved to the London Chest Hospital in 1959, where he met his wife Betty who was nursing there. They married in 1960.

After further appointments at Hillingdon and Birmingham, he worked as rotating registrar at Bristol, subsequently going to Canada as an internist at the Brantford Clinic, Ontario. This was a year of great interest and experience for Jim and Betty but, although they loved Canada, England drew them back in 1968. On his return Jim obtained a post as research fellow at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton where he worked for three years in conjunction with the late Gordon Hamilton Fairley [Munk's Roll, Vol.VI, p.215]. It was during this time that Jim developed his increasing enthusiasm for oncology and haematology, subjects which were to become his special interest during his consultant career. In 1972 he was appointed consultant physician to the Croydon Group of hospitals. It was at the Croydon General Hospital that most of his time was spent and for which, and the people who made it what it was, he had a great affection. Jim loved his clinical work and was a most conscientious and caring physician, taking endless trouble with the problems of his patients and of the staff who worked with him. As well as general medicine he was able to enjoy his interest in oncology and his opinion was often sought, and highly regarded, by his colleagues both in hospital and general practice. Apart from his clinical load, he was an active committee member; chairman of the Croydon BMA in 1980 and for many years secretary of the medical division. His interests were wide and he and Betty had many friends within the church community. He became an authority on church architecture, but his interest in the church extended far beyond that of architecture alone.

Eighteen months before his death Jim realized that he was suffering from motor neurone disease, which became rapidly progessive, and in coming to terms with his illness he showed a remarkable courage, such that most of us would find hard to equal.

He was survived by his wife Betty and their two children, and it was thanks to their love and his own deep faith that he was able to say - in words that were true in every sense - ‘I have had a good life.’

JA Parrish

[Brit.med.J., 1984,288,944]

(Volume VIII, page 263)

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