Lives of the fellows

Francis Tillyard Page

b.11 March 1920 d.11 June 2000
MB BS Lond(1943) MRCP(1943) MD(1949) FRCP(1964)

Francis Page was a consultant physician in Bristol. He will be remembered for his friendliness and humility with patients and colleagues, and for his keen interest in those with chronic disability. He was born in Leeds, where his father was a clergyman and his mother a distinguished organist and the first woman to be a member of the Royal College of Organists. His schooling was in Northampton and North London, where he was both head boy and athletics champion. He also excelled at tennis and cricket, and was a county squash player.

His medical training was at the Middlesex, where he was made Broderip scholar as the best student of the year. He qualified in 1943 and achieved the rare distinction of obtaining the membership of the College in the same year. The following year he met Juliet on night duty and they married in 1944. They later had two sons and a daughter. He then served in the RAMC, mostly in India and Burma until 1947.

Following demobilization, he spent about ten years in registrar posts at the Middlesex, with Michael Cremer, and the Central Middlesex with Horace Joules [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.307]. During this time he published in The Lancet on the first observations of the beneficial effect of mepacrine in lupus erthyematosus in 18 patients.

He was appointed a consultant physician to Southmead and other Bristol hospitals in 1958. His main impact was in teaching, both undergraduates and post-graduates: in 1962 he was appointed area organizer of post-graduate studies and clinical dean in Southmead. His junior staff were nurtured by him and learned from him by example.

He remained a general physician, but his major interests were in neurology and the disabled. He started a young chronic sick unit at Ham Green hospital, and was regional adviser on communication aids for those with severe communication problems, visiting patients in their homes. He was a founder member of St Peter's Hospice and was active in its development even after retirement. These special interests dovetailed with his medical colleagues to make Southmead a happy and pioneering hospital.

On retirement in 1983 he was invited to Australia to work as an educational adviser, but had to decline due to his wife's ill-health. He became adept at caring and cooking for her and became an avid gardener. Then his own health deteriorated: his lifelong familial atrial fibrillation began to cause heart failure. Latterly, he developed obscure skin problems, severe nose bleeds and other disorders. He remained cheerful, however, and quipped that his own post-mortem would be very interesting. He was a devoted family man and was immensely proud when his general practitioner son, Christopher, was awarded the Fellowship of the College.

H G Mather

(Volume XI, page 437)

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