Lives of the fellows

Guy Malcolm Colson

b.29 May 1920 d.11 June 1981
MA BM BCh Oxon(1944) MRCP Lond(1946) FRCP Lond(1972)

Guy Colson was born in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, the son of Richard Henry Colson, banker, and his wife Winifred Violet, the daughter of William Henry Cotton, bespoke shoemaker. He was educated at St Edward’s School, Oxford, and later at Trinity College, Oxford, where he was successively secretary and captain of the University rugby team. He continued his studies at the Middlesex Hospital, London, where he became captain of the Middlesex Hospital RUFC. He qualified in 1944 and remained at the Middlesex Hospital successively as house physician, casualty medical officer and medical registrar. During the latter appointment he passed his membership examination and also published a paper on phalangeal metastases in bronchogenic carcinoma (Lancet, 1948, 1, 100-102). The next two years were spent in the RAMC as medical specialist with the rank of captain, and in 1949 he was appointed senior medical registrar first to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and then to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, where he remained until 1954, when he was appointed consultant physician to the Bolton Group of Hospitals.

Once established in his permanent appointment, Colson’s flair in both clinical and administrative fields rapidly became apparent. He was successively secretary and chairman of the old medical advisory committee, and continued as chairman of the medical records and pharmaceutical sub-committees over a period of many years. He was secretary and subsequently chairman of the medical division after the NHS reorganization in 1974. Despite his flair for administration, it was in clinical fields where Colson excelled, maintaining an exemplary standard of practice in wards and outpatient clinics, as well as establishing a flourishing private practice. Colson helped to train a succession of junior residents, many of whom have reason to be grateful to him for his efforts on their behalf. He was a regular contributor to the proceedings of the Bolton Postgraduate Centre and readily accepted his part in the training of medical students from nearby Manchester University.

Guy Colson’s energy and enthusiasm extended to his leisure pursuits, being particularly fond of fishing, sailing, shooting, cricket and squash. He was a member of two cricket clubs, the Northern Nomads and the Gentleman of Cheshire, and at one time belonged to two shoots, one in Lancashire and one in Scotland, and was seldom happier than when tramping the moors with a gun under his arm. At home he was a keen and successful gardener who particularly enjoyed his spells in the greenhouse.

Guy’s friendly manner and gregarious disposition won him many friends from all walks of life in the north west, where he did much to enhance the reputation of his profession. Because of ill-health he decided to retire from the hospital service at the end of 1978, but he continued with his private work, and found a fresh interest in the newly opened St. Ann’s Hospice where he was honorary consultant.

Colson was married twice, first in 1945 to Pauline, by whom he had four sons. In 1966 he married Audrey, daughter of James Stewart, engineer, of Bolton, who survived him.

PJD Snow

[Brit.med.J., 1981, 283, 389]

(Volume VII, page 113)

<< Back to List