Lives of the fellows

Angus Macdonald

b.14 September 1935 d.7 November 2010
MB ChB Edin(1959) MRCP Glasg(1964) MRCP Edin(1965) FRCP(1981)

Angus MacDonald was a consultant dermatologist for the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, a larger than life figure who graced the portals of Kent and Sussex Hospital, as well as Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

He was born in Rangoon, Burma, the son of Angus MacDonald, a pathologist in the RAMC. His mother was from a colonial mercantile family dealing textiles in Japan. After Burma they were moved to Northern Ireland, Cambridge and Porton Down. During the Second World War, Angus’ father was killed by a stray shell while serving in North Africa with the Eighth Field Ambulance. The family went to stay with a rich aunt. Angus remembered the long solitary train journeys to a boarding school in York. He enjoyed school despite the great winter freeze of 1946 to 1947, with ice and snow, food and fuel rations. Around this time his mother remarried and they went to live in London. A brief trip to Kenya and an ambush added to the spice of colonial life. He finished his schooling at Fettes College, Edinburgh, and then studied medicine at Edinburgh University. He held junior posts at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, and Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

Angus then served on HMS Arcadia as a uniformed officer, returning to long hours of acute medicine in the NHS of the 1960s. In 1965 he became a registrar at the North Middlesex Hospital. He subsequently took a position as a senior registrar in the dermatology department at St Mary’s Hospital, London. He was then appointed to his consultant post in Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. Angus worked both for the NHS and privately. He embraced the PC revolution long before most, using a Commodore PET. The software he designed for private practice is still in use today. He was busy on interview panels and committees.

He met his wife Susan Savage, known as Sue, in 1965. They married a year later and had three children, Elspeth, Angus and Charlotte. They bought a small farm in 1976 with 50 ewes, 20 cows, calves and a few geese. Angus developed his farming skills and learnt how to shear the sheep for wool. He built lean-tos for the cattle and planned out the gardens. Sue worked the farm and looked after the children. After a long illness, Sue died in 1985.

Angus later married for a second time, marrying Ann and embraced her children. They bought a house, ‘Crebantieras’, in Dordogne, France, which became the joy of his life. He spent months at a time welcoming visitors and guests. In 2001 he retired, little realising that he would only have six months of care-free life before his diagnosis of prostatic cancer. He appeared to improve with therapy whilst grandchildren arrived.

Angus spent his last six months dignified but bed-bound. He bought an iPad, read books and watched films. He was never agitated. He died peacefully in his own bed one autumnal Sunday morning in November.

Sriramulu Tharakaram

(Volume XII, page web)

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