Lives of the fellows

John Edward Dippy

b.15 September 1939 d.14 March 2016
BPharm Lond(1961) MB BS(1966) MRCP(1973) FRCP(1986)

John Dippy, consultant rheumatologist at Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon for 24 years, was a proud Welshman, an armchair sportsman and an old-fashioned physician and friend to his many patients.

John’s father, John Frederick James Dippy was a professor of organic chemistry at the Chelsea College of Science and Technology. His mother, Winifred Maria Dippy, was a teacher. John, an only child, won an academic bursary to Brentwood School in Essex and gained six A levels before studying pharmacology at the London School of Pharmacy in Russell Square, at his father’s behest.

Having graduated with a BPharm in 1961, he then felt able to follow his true vocation and entered the London Hospital Medical School, graduating in 1966. He met his wife Linda, a nurse, on her graduation day in 1963. Their partnership survived his lifetime and produced two much-loved children.

John’s first post as a doctor was as a receiving room officer at the London Hospital, where he saw a broad spectrum of life in the East End and the conditions associated with it. House jobs were followed by a junior lectureship in the pharmacology department at Guy’s Hospital, where he lectured to medical students and published his first papers.

He relocated to the Land of his Fathers for his registrar training and embraced the world of rheumatology. In Cardiff he worked with Kenneth Lloyd [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] a protégé of Michael Mason [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.386], who had set up the first rheumatology department in Wales; this allowed him to combine his keen mind and his pharmacology training with a clinical specialty where clinical acumen was still of paramount importance.

Both of John and Linda’s children were born in Wales, which satisfied his feelings for his Welsh heritage.

John loved ships and sailing and had a thirst for adventure and filled short gaps between jobs with stints as ship’s doctor travelling to the West Indies and also to Saint Helena and Ascension Island.

Just as he was reaching the end of his training, he heard that the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon was looking for a rheumatologist to join the incumbent rehabilitation specialist in order to create a new combined department of rheumatology and rehabilitation. John was appointed and thrived in his new environment, conducting clinical trials, attending national and international conferences, where he presented papers, and taking an active interest in consultant affairs and junior doctor training.

Over time, the department became busier; his senior colleagues retired and new consultant colleagues were appointed, along with one of the earliest specialist nurses, thus developing into a thriving rheumatology department.

Outside medicine, John was well-travelled and a keen and accomplished photographer. He was also a knowledgeable philatelist and a fount of general knowledge. He followed his beloved Welsh rugby team through good and bad times. He was a keen opera goer. John enjoyed 15 years of happy retirement before succumbing to an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease. He was survived by his wife, Linda, and their two children, Angela and Roger.

Linda Dippy
Elizabeth Price

(Volume XII, page web)

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