Lives of the fellows

Judy Beard

b.9 February 1958 d.2 August 2012
MB ChB Liverp(1981) MRCP(1984) MRCPath(1989) FRCP(1996) FRCPath(1997)

Judy Beard was a consultant haematologist at Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea. She was born into a working class family in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where she attended primary and secondary schools. She then went to Liverpool to study medicine, the first person from her family to go to university. During her undergraduate career she won a Roaf travelling scholarship, and spent an elective period in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she already showed an interest in haematology.

Following house officer and senior house officer posts at Walton Hospital in Liverpool, she worked as a registrar in haematology at Leicester Royal Infirmary and the Westminster Hospital, before becoming a senior registrar at St Thomas’ Hospital.

In September 1990 she was appointed as a consultant haematologist in Hastings, which subsequently became part of the East Sussex Hospitals Health Trust. She rapidly won a reputation as a skilled clinician, and also gained the respect of her colleagues for her skilful powers of organisation, negotiation, tact and principled persuasion. These skills were quickly recognised across the south east region, where her opinions were widely sort after and highly regarded. She became the lead cancer clinician for her trust, a position that she handled with great skill and dedication during a time of considerable change.

Her first concern was always for her patients, and she derived great satisfaction from her clinical work. Following her death, patients and staff sort to name a new day unit, for which she had tirelessly campaigned, in her memory.

Judy was a board member of St Michael’s Hospice and was an enthusiastic fundraiser for them.

Outside medicine, she was an experienced scuba diver, performing over 350 dives, and was an enthusiastic member of Hastings Sub Aqua Club. Her administrative skills, combined with her wisdom, were quickly recognised and she was elected to several roles in the club, culminating in her election as chair. She dived all around the globe, becoming particularly enamoured with the Maldives and their manta rays.

In July 2012 she was diving with the club in the English Channel when, on completion of the dive, she became entangled and was unable to climb back on board the boat. She fell from the boarding ladder, and was lost at sea and drowned. Following her tragic death, she was posthumously voted a lifetime achievement award by readers of her local paper.

She was survived by her husband Nick, a doctor whom she had met at Walton Hospital, and her daughter, Holly.

Nick Belcher

[Brit.med.J.,2013 347 6880; BBC News Sussex www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-18850070 – accessed 26 November 2013; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust www.esht.nhs.uk/news/2012/2012-11-06-judy-beard-unit/ – accessed 26 November 2013]

(Volume XII, page web)

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