Lives of the fellows

Peter Richard David Wilson

b.14 January 1935 d.24 December 2014
BM BCh Oxon(1960) DObst RCOG(1963) MRCP(1968) FRCP(1987)

Peter Wilson was a consultant physician in geriatric medicine in Colchester, Essex. It was a specialty he loved and to which he gave all his energy. He was born in Surbiton, the son of Jack Marston Wilson, a lubricating oil chemist, and Kathleen Penelope Huntley Wilson, and attended King’s College School in Wimbledon. It was evident from the beginning that medicine was to be his life. His great uncle F Norman White became the first director of the Athens School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was an honorary community physician for Oxfordshire.

On leaving school in 1953 Peter was awarded an exhibition to Merton College, Oxford, where he studied medicine, before joining St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London, where he won the surgical prize. He qualified BM BCh in 1960. He was a house surgeon at St John’s Hospital in Chelmsford and then a casualty officer and house physician at St Thomas’ Hospital. He gained his diploma from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1963, while he was a senior house officer at Ronkswood Hospital in Worcester. He subsequently became a registrar and acting senior registrar at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. He was then appointed as a senior registrar in geriatrics at Southampton General Hospital. From 1962 he enjoyed a year with the P&O shipping company as ship’s chief medical officer on the Australia run.

He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1968 and in 1970 joined St Mary’s Hospital, Colchester, as a consultant in geriatric medicine. The department served as an assessment unit and also had several large hospitals within the region to which it provided a custodial service. As a young consultant he virtually operated the department single-handed whilst his senior was nearing retirement and, for a time after, Peter was in fact the only consultant assigned to the department. He fought for an assessment unit for the care of the elderly at the Colchester General site, and his vision and forward-thinking paid off in the establishment of such a unit. His efforts not only resulted in the establishment of a good modern facility for the elderly people of north east Essex, but also helped to create a trust fund out of legacies from his patients to help junior doctors and nursing staff with their further education, travel expenses etc. The trust continues today to help doctors and nurses. His belief in the provision of ongoing care within a day hospital to prevent chronic conditions was paramount. He was also responsible for the establishment of a very successful stroke unit.

At university Peter had been a member of his College squash and tennis teams which, along with golf in later years, he continued to enjoy greatly. He loved his garden, particularly the orchard and soft fruits, supplying the family with plenty of jam and bottled preserves.

He was a great fan of crossword puzzles, loved walking and ancient churches. Latterly a second home in France gave him and his family great pleasure. The local Rotary Club and village church absorbed his energies. If you wanted help in any way Peter was always ready to assist; he had an opinion about everything and would speak with authority about historical subjects, say, but his statements might not always turn out to be completely accurate!

Peter was essentially a very caring man of medicine and had immense concern for others as well as boundless energy for all his interests. He gave his help and support to the local Multiple Sclerosis Society over many years and was also a trustee of the Essex Blind Charity, eventually becoming chairman, a position he held over a long period of time. He was survived by his widow, Charlotte Elizabeth Wilson née Maclaughlin (known as ‘Bette’), whom he married in 1963, their children, Stuart, Alistair and Emily, and their granddaughter, Megan.

Aloc Deb

(Volume XII, page web)

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