Lives of the fellows

Helen Clare Kelsey

b.13 December 1960 d.23 May 2011
BSc Lond(1982) MB BS(1985) MRCP(1988) MRCPath(1995) FRCPath(2002) FRCP(2003)

Helen Kelsey was a consultant haematologist at Kettering General Hospital. Her parents were Julian Kelsey, a communications engineer, and Judith Kelsey, a housewife. Helen was educated at Chelmsford County High School for Girls, and then went on to study medicine at Middlesex Hospital Medical School. Her undergraduate training was marked by many prizes and distinctions, and a first class intercalated BSc in pharmacology.

She moved to Salisbury General Hospital for her surgical house job, where she met the young army officer Tim Reilly whom she was later to marry. She first worked in haematology as a house officer at the Middlesex, and then moved to Oxford for her senior house officer medicine rotation. Subsequently she moved back to north London for haematology registrar and senior registrar posts at University College Hospital. During this time she worked as a research fellow on platelet research for Sam Machin. This confirmed her interest in the field of haemostasis and thrombosis, but also her passion for the patient-centred world of clinical medicine rather than laboratory based research.

She was one of the most promising of her generation of young haematologists and most certainly would have had a more distinguished career but for the breast cancer which she developed shortly after taking up her first consultant post at Watford General Hospital in 1997.

Helen brought an exceptional joy, even flamboyance, to all aspects of her work. She inspired all around her with her warmth and enthusiasm, never more so than when she first returned to work after her breast cancer had returned in 2005. She was clinically incisive and had a natural affinity for her patients. At Kettering General Hospital, where she was a consultant haematologist from 2001 to 2008, she laid the foundations for proactive thromboprophylaxis well before this had become a Department of Health mantra, and had gone some way in developing an obstetric haematology clinic before she took early retirement.

Helen was survived by her husband Tim Reilly and their daughter Harriet. Family life was always central to her. She shared a passion for foreign travel with Tim, even riding pillion on the back of his motorcycle across Europe, as well as for literature and her allotment.

Matthew Lyttleton

(Volume XII, page web)

<< Back to List