Lives of the fellows

Anthony Barry Walter Nethersell

b.23 December 1945 d.29 May 2012
BA Cantab(1968) BChir(1973) MB(1974) MRCP(1978) FRCR(1982) FRCP(1998)

Anthony Barry Walter Nethersell was a consultant in clinical oncology at Glan Clywd Hospital, Rhyl. He was born in Llandudno, north Wales, and, in 1965, went up to Queens’ College, Cambridge, from John Bright Grammar School to study physics. After his first degree, he studied medicine, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and then at Bart’s Hospital in London.

He chose to enter the pharmaceutical industry, becoming head of clinical oncology at the Wellcome Research Laboratories in Beckenham, Kent. Here he was able to apply his experience in physics to his chosen specialism – radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Whilst there he also took a prominent part in the development of the drug interferon and, concurrently, he held a post as an honorary consultant at King’s College Hospital in London to maintain and develop his medical skills.

He ultimately returned full time to the NHS. After a consultancy in Exeter, he returned home to north Wales to take part in the new cancer centre based at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl. Here he was able to make full use of his clinical experience and, most importantly for him, his capacity for compassion and kindness, in which every patient was given his dedicated attention. The long and gruelling hours he willingly endured no doubt contributed to the decline of his own health.

Tony was also, from childhood, passionately devoted to music. He was a superb pianist and organist (an associate of the Royal College of Organists). Whilst at John Bright School, he often had the opportunity to play with that now defunct institution, the pier orchestra at Llandudno. His musical tastes were unusually wide and deep, from plainchant to Wagner, Motown to Bacharach. Whilst at Queens’ he was a very active member of the St Margaret’s Society (the college music society) and sang bass in both the college and the university choirs. Everywhere he lived and worked he was never without his old and cherished Steinway grand piano, with which he enlivened many a party. A memorable highlight of his Cambridge days was to play the solo part in the ‘Warsaw concerto’ at a Queens’ summer concert in 1968. After his return to north Wales, he also enjoyed playing the organ for services in the churches near his home in Deganwy.

Sadly, at the age of 62, his deteriorating health forced him to retire, and he battled bravely and patiently for his final five years. Tony, however, was fortunate to share most of his adult life with his childhood sweetheart, Jan, who was his partner throughout his career and whom he married in 2007.

M D Williams

(Volume XII, page web)

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