Lives of the fellows

Donald William Ward

b.25 April 1939 d.29 October 1993
MB ChB Manch(1963) MRCP(1970) FRCP(1982)

Donald Ward was born in Bradford, the son of William Ward AMIEE, a chartered electrical engineer. His mother Ivy, née Hardaker, was also of Bradford and he had a sister, Barbara. A maternal uncle, George Jennings Hardaker, was a general practitioner in Bradford and his son, John Christopher Hardaker, is now in the practice. Earlier medical ancestors were Neil Maclay, who was an ENT surgeon in Newcastle upon Tyne and his son, Willie N Maclay who was a general practitioner in London. In 1942 the family moved to Preston and Don attended Balshaw’s Grammar School in Leyland, where he not only shone academically but also played rugby in the first XV, and also for the Preston Schoolboys. At Manchester University, where he studied medicine, he played for the Woolton Hall XV and for the medical school XV. He was elected prosector in anatomy 1959/60.

His first hospital appointments were house officer posts at Preston Royal Infirmary, followed by six months of obstetrics and gynaecology and six months pathology. He held registrar posts at Preston Royal Infirmary 1965-67 and Blackburn Royal Infirmary 1967-69. He was later appointed medical registrar to the firm of A Thelwall Jones and R B McConnell in the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool, and obtained his membership of the College. In 1970 he moved to Liverpool Royal Infirmary, to the firm of C A Clarke, later Sir Cyril, D A Price Evans and R B McConnell.

During the two years as medical registrar to R B McConnell, Donald Ward developed an interest and expertise in gastroenterology which led to his appointment in 1971 as senior medical registrar in general medicine and gastroenterology with the Liverpool regional hospital board. He worked as senior registrar in general medicine at the Royal Southern Hospital, 1971-72, with R R Hughes and Ronald Finn, and at the Whiston Hospital, 1974-75. His senior registrar training in gastroenterology was at Broadgreen Hospital with McConnell and at Walton Hospital with R J Walker. He did much research on oesophageal motility, the results of which he published in the BMJ and Thorax, and also presented at meetings of the British Society of Gastroenterology and the Thoracic Society.

After he was appointed consultant physician and gastroenterologist to the Burnley District Hospitals in 1976 he soon developed a comprehensive gastroenterology service, and in 1981 formed a well equipped and staffed investigatory unit in what had been the casualty department of the Victoria Hospital. The demand for his services grew steadily and by 1988 the health authority provided the funds for a much larger unit to be built for him at the Burnley General Hospital. He ran a very happy unit with a general practitioner clinical assistant and registrars to help him.

During the 17 years that Don worked in Burnley his personality and administrative ability were much appreciated by his colleagues. He was undergraduate tutor from 1979 and postgraduate tutor from 1978-85, when he became chairman of the postgraduate medical committee. He organized training of the clinical students of Manchester University, who spend four months at Burnley. He arranged the extension of the lecture theatre at the Mackenzie Postgraduate Centre and gave several lectures on the life of Sir James Mackenzie [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.533]. He was a member of the Liverpool Medical Institution and a fellow of the Manchester Medical Society. He was elected a member of the British Society of Gastroenterology in 1977 and was also a member of the North of England Society of Gastroenterology.

When Don was working at Preston Royal Infirmary he met and married a talented night sister, Sheila Mary Tebay SRN SCM, whose home was in Windermere. They had two children, a son and a daughter, and he was very proud of them and their achievements. His son Jeremy Bruce qualified as MB ChB Edinburgh in 1989, and in 1993 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. His daughter Catherine Ann also studied at Edinburgh University, obtained her MRCVS in 1992 and went into veterinary practice in Stirling.

Don had a warm, natural charm and rapidly made rapport with his patients. He was kind and conscientious, with a deep understanding of their problems. He had a very happy home life. In the early days they used to go camping in Scotland and he enjoyed bird watching and photography. He also loved hill walking in Scotland and the Lake District. Sailing was another interest and for many years he helped crew a friend’s yacht, sailing in the Hebrides and as far out as St Kilda. He built his own dinghy while a student and in later years had a Wayfarer dinghy for sailing on Coniston Water, Lake Windermere and Ullswater. During his last five years he got much pleasure in working on a 250-year old cottage in Woodland, a village south of Torver, west of Coniston Water. The cottage had six acres of land, including four and a half acres of woodland. It was in the prime of his life, when he was tending the woods, that he fell from a tree and suffered head injuries which proved fatal.

R B McConnell

[Brit.med.J., 1994,308,469]

(Volume IX, page 551)

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