b.15 November 1938 d.31 October 2010
MRCS LRCP(1963) MB BS Lond(1963) DCH(1966) MRCP(1985) FRCP(1996)
Gillian Sleigh was a consultant paediatrician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London and a distinguished expert on child health. Born in Preston, she was the daughter of Dudley Stewart Sleigh, a vicar, and his wife, Aileen Morton Geraldine. Educated at St Brandon’s School in Somerset and the South Wiltshire Grammar School, she studied medicine at London University and the Royal Free Hospital.
After qualifying in 1963, she did various house jobs in London from 1964 to 1965, then moved to Brighton and worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for a year. In 1966 she went to Trinidad, in the West Indies, first to the Caura Chest Hospital as a registrar, and then she became medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Centre for Handicapped Children where she helped to improve the services for disabled children.
On returning to the UK in 1973, she took a 12 month post as a research officer at the Medical Research Council’s unit in Oxford. In 1975 she helped to set up the Hugh Ellis Paediatric Assessment Centre (HEPAC) for Oxfordshire and stayed there for 13 years. Moving to Wales in 1989, she was appointed a consultant paediatrician (community and child health) at the University Hospital of Wales and the Cardiff Royal Infirmary. Finally she became a consultant paediatrician (community and child health) at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London and stayed there from 1991 until she retired in 2002.
She published several papers on child feeding and nutrition and, in 1997, embarked on a part time MSc in evidence based healthcare at Kellogg College, Oxford, continuing this work, which focused on feeding difficulties in children with cerebral palsy, at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. This research led to her becoming a much sought after speaker on the topic at conferences.
Among her many interests she enjoyed walking, reading, cooking, gardening, swimming, and riding pillion on a motor bike. She was also a gifted artist.
In 1968 she married David Gwyn Nicholls, a vicar who was also a theologian, historian, and writer of distinguished academic books. He died suddenly in 1996 while undergoing surgery for a split artery. Later she married John Muddiman, also a vicar, who survived her together with her sister, Jennifer.
[BMJ 2011 342 1886 www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1886 - accessed 7 July 2015]
(Volume XII, page web)
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