Lives of the fellows

Thomas Ballantyne Begg

b.20 April 1928 d.6 March 2005
MB ChB Glasg(1950) MRCP(1956) MRCPS(1962) FRCPS(1967) FRCP(1974)

Tom Begg was a consultant physician in Glasgow. From an early age he demonstrated his academic potential. At Hutchesons' Grammar School he was dux of the school and when he qualified in medicine from Glasgow University he was awarded the Brunton medal as the most distinguished student of the year. Following house officer posts in Glasgow he saw National Service in West Africa.

On his return to civilian life he undertook junior posts in Aberdeen and Newcastle, before working for six years in the Medical Research Council unit at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. In 1966 he was appointed to his consultant post at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. In addition to duties in general medicine he, along with two colleagues, developed one of the earliest coronary care units in the UK.

His medical interests were wide and this was reflected in his publications, which embraced iodide goitre, breath alcohol testing, blood rheology, peripheral arterial disease, blood lipids and coronary care.

He served in various Territorial Army units, commanding 157 Field Ambulance and later serving in the 105 General Hospital. His talents and interests were not solely academic. He played rugby for Glasgow University and during his final MB exams broke the record for the Scottish universities half mile, setting a time that was to stand for seven years. He also won the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association half mile championship. After university he continued to play rugby for various clubs and maintained his association with athletics, where he served as a track judge for many years, including duties at the Commonwealth Games of 1970 and 1986.

Following his retirement Tom increased his longstanding interest in gardening and in particular enjoyed spending more time at his holiday cottage at Newtonmore in the Scottish Highlands. Newtonmore also gave him the opportunity to remain physically active with walking in summer and skiing in winter.

Tom set himself high standards in all he did and expected similar endeavours from those around him. He was not afraid to express his views robustly, but he bore no grudges and very soon after a heated exchange his loud trademark laugh would be heard throughout the room. He was excellent company and in his presence such occasions passed quickly and most enjoyably.

He is survived by his wife Dorothy (Ward), whom he married in 1953, his son, two daughters and six grandchildren.

Norman Mackay

(Volume XII, page web)

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