Lives of the fellows

Frank Edward Nichol

b.13 January 1949 d 30 December 2014 BSc Liverp(1970) MB ChB(1973) MRCP(1977) MD(1981) FRCP Edin(1988) FRCP(1993)

Frank Nichol was a consultant rheumatologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He was born in Macclesfield, the son of Edward Nichol, a fire officer, and Lilian Nichol, a housewife, and was educated in Manchester, attending Burnage Grammar School. He studied medicine at Liverpool University and did an intercalated BSc in anatomy, being awarded first class honours.

After graduating in 1973, he did professorial house jobs in Liverpool, before joining a Merseyside medical rotation at senior house officer and then registrar level. After passing the membership examinations, he was invited to take up a fellowship in research and clinical training in rheumatology in the department of medicine at Liverpool University. His MD was entitled ‘Clinical and genetic studies in ankylosing spondylitis’ and was awarded in 1981. He subsequently moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary for a senior registrar post, combining rheumatology and general medicine.

In 1981 Frank was appointed as a consultant rheumatologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary and remained in post until he retired in 2006. As well as clinical work in Leicestershire, he was also a visiting rheumatologist to Gibraltar Heath Authority.

After a period as head of service for rheumatology, he became clinical director of musculoskeletal services and then clinical director of medicine and accident and emergency services, at a time of huge change and pressure. He was a very effective manager and also became a regional adviser for the Royal College of Physicians. In this role he very successfully established a permanent RCP office with an administrator in Leicester.

Frank was very intelligent, astute, organised and reliable. To his patients he was down to earth, knowledgeable and incisive. To his colleagues he was a respected leader and friend, engendering great loyalty. Frank’s sense of humour was evident in everything he did and was very quick, wide-ranging and often poignant.

After retirement Frank travelled widely and, after selling a house in Spain, refurbished a bungalow in Leicester. During this period a large part of Frank’s time was occupied by the charitable activities of freemasonry. He became a grand almoner and was then appointed to the grand rank in 2014, but was sadly too ill to attend the ceremony. He was survived by Sara, his wife, a daughter, Claire, from his first marriage and two grandchildren.

Barrie Rathbone

[The British Society for Rheumatology Frank Edward Nichols, 194902014 – accessed 15 March 2016 BMJ 2015 350 1009 – accessed 15 March 2016;]

(Volume XII, page web)

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