Lives of the fellows

Jonathan Pritchard

b.7 March 1942 d.20 January 2007
BA Cantab(1963) MB BChir(1966) MRCP(1970) FRCP(1981) Hon FAAP(1991) FRCPCH(1998) FRCP Edin(1999)

Jon Pritchard was a pioneering paediatric oncologist, ending his career as a consultant at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, after many years at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. He was born in Prestbury, Cheshire, the son of Ernest John Pritchard, an electric engineer. His mother was a doctor and a graduate of Manchester University Medical School. He was educated at Benchill Primary School and Manchester Grammar School, and then studied medicine at St John’s College, Cambridge, and St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School. He gained his BA in 1963 and qualified MB BChir in 1966.

His first posts were as a house surgeon and paediatric house surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. He was a house surgeon at Scarborough Hospital in 1967 and then spent a year in Salisbury, Rhodesia, where he was a paediatric senior house officer. He returned to the UK in 1969 and became a general medical senior house officer at Burton-on-Trent. In 1970 he was appointed as a paediatric registrar at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, and, from 1972 to 1975, he was a research fellow in the department of haematology at Liverpool University. He subsequently spent two years in Boston, Massachusetts, as a fellow in the division of haematology, Children’s Hospital Center, and then as a fellow in paediatric oncology at the Sidney Farber Cancer Center.

In 1977 he returned to the UK and was appointed to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, first as a lecturer and later as a senior lecturer and consultant paediatric oncologist. In 1998 he joined the department of surgery at the Institute of Child Health, University of London. In 2000 he went to Saudi Arabia for two years, and then became a consultant paediatric oncologist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh.

He was an internationally recognised expert on paediatric oncology, with a particular interest in kidney and liver tumours, as well as Langerhans’ cell histiocytosis. He was a founder member of the United Kingdom Children’s Cancer Study Group and published widely, including 144 articles, editorials, books and chapters. For many years he was editor of the paediatric section of the European Journal of Cancer.

He was also known as an inspiring teacher who was passionate and enthusiastic about his subject. He took every opportunity to teach his juniors and students. He founded the Histiocyte Society and the Neuroblastoma Society and, having seen the example of the Ronald McDonald houses when he was working in the US, helped establish the Sick Children’s Trust, which provides quality accommodation across the UK for families with sick children in hospital.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed music (piano, viola and listening), hill walking, squash, tennis, ornithology and photography. At Cambridge he captained the lacrosse team and played regularly for England. He was also renowned for his ability to write poetry, and would often disappear for 10 minutes at the end of a meeting to write several appropriate verses.

He died of a brain tumour and was survived by his wife Anne Martin, his step daughters, Sian, Kate and Charlotte, and by his first wife, Kate (née Connor), their son, Adam, and daughter, Alex, and by two granddaughters.

RCP editor

[The Telegraph 23 February 2007 – accessed 16 March 2015; The Times 27 March 2007; The Guardian 12 April 2007 – accessed 16 March 2015; BMJ 2007 335 264 – accessed 16 March 2015; The Lancet 2007 369 552 – accessed 16 March 2015; The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Obituaries Dr Jonathan Pritchard FRCP Edin – accessed 16 March 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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