Lives of the fellows

Rupert Sykes

b.15 September 1907 d.19 January 2011
BSc Lond(1926) MB BS(1932) MRCS LRCP(1932) MRCP(1934) MD(1935) FRCP(1969)

Rupert Sykes was a consultant physician at Stockport Infirmary and Stepping Hill Hospital. Born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, he was the son of Harold, the manager of a woollen mill, and his wife, Julia née Smith, whose father, Carmi Smith, was a merchant selling dairy produce and bacon. Educated at Huddersfield College, he studied chemistry at London University and, after obtaining his BSc in 1926, went to Manchester University to study medicine there and at the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI).

After house jobs at the MRI and Ancoats Hospital in Manchester, he returned to London in 1934 and spent a year as a house physician at the Brompton Hospital. From 1935 to 1938, he was back in Manchester at the Withington Hospital and the MRI, before being appointed a consultant physician at the Oldham Royal Infirmary (ORI) in 1939.

He joined the RAMC in 1942 and served as a major in Northern Ireland, Belgium and Sierra Leone.

On demobilisation in 1946, he returned to his post at the ORI combining this with a post at the Manchester Northern Hospital. Four years later, in 1950, he was appointed a consultant physician at Stockport and Stepping Hill with a special interest in diabetes and respiratory medicine. He retired in 1974 at the age of 67, but continued to work part time for the rehabilitation unit at the Withington Hospital until he was 80.

He enjoyed tennis, mountaineering and, later, golf. An accomplished pianist, he also played the bassoon.

In 1940, he married Joan Leigh née Bennett, whose father, Thomas Leigh Bennett, was an optician. They had four sons, Barrie, Peter, Duncan and Alan, of whom two became medically qualified. Joan predeceased him in 1998 and he was survived by his sons and seven grandchildren, three of whom have also taken up the medical profession.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2011 342 1405 www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1405 - accessed 6 August 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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