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BMJ. 2007 June 9; 334(7605): 1227.
PMCID: PMC1889990

Nicholas Bennett-Jones

Nicholas was born with a high intellect and an excellent memory, a wonderful base on which to embark on any career. He chose medicine. Nicholas' origin was on a farm called Cwm Biga in Montgomeryshire. His primary education was at Berriw, and he gained the highest marks in the county in the entrance examination to the grammar schools at Welshpool and Newtown. In 1935 he passed the higher school certificate examination, being given a county exhibition for attaining a high standard. In the same year he entered Liverpool University Medical School to start his medical career.

Nick's earlier promise of academic excellence led to an illustrious undergraduate progress. He received a number of medals and prizes for special achievements, including the Mitchel Banks medal in anatomy and the senior Lyons Jones prize for the highest grades in the 2nd MB examination. During his clinical training he also claimed the Butterworth prize. Nick's undergraduate excellence culminated in passing the final examination for the degrees of MB ChB with first class honours.

Nicholas's first medical post was that of house physician to Professor Henry Cohen at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. Because of wartime needs he was, after six months called up and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He had a distinguished army period serving with the First Battalion Queen's Regiment in India and Burma for five years. He was mentioned in dispatches, and eventually returned home in charge of a hospital ship repatriating Far East prisoners of war.

On returning home Nicholas restarted his medical career. He had an appointment at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary leading to a senior registrar ship with Professor Henry Cohen. In 1949 he passed the MRCP examination and was later elected FRCP. In 1953 he applied for and was appointed consultant general physician and rheumatologist at the Whiston and St Helens Hospitals in the then Liverpool Region Hospital Board area.

Rheumatology was his main clinical interest and as a result he joined the Heberden Society. In 1960 the society awarded him with the Bishop Harman prize for his work entitled, “Some preventable hazards in the management of steroid treated patients requiring surgery.”

For 28 years Nicholas gave unstinting care with devotion and outstanding clinical standards to the hospital and the surrounding district in which he worked. He retired from these onerous duties in 1981. During his period as consultant physician he was a member of and one time chairman of the St Helens Medical Society and also a long term member of the Liverpool Medical Institution.

Nick's life was of two parts: his family upbringing and the deep influence of the farming community in Montgomeryshire and then his medical and his personal life in the Liverpool area.

A Welsh proverb states:

Hysbys y dengys y dyn o pa radd y bo ei wreiddyn.

“A man will soon show the quality of his roots.”

Nick epitomises the truth of this proverb in both his roots in the farming community of Montgomeryshire and his later devotion to his vocational medical career and personal family life in Liverpool. Nick's love and continuing interest in Montgomeryshire was reciprocated when the county honoured him as their High Sheriff in 1967.

In 1952 Nick married Ruth (Herbert Williams), and they had a great family of four children: three sons and a daughter, the eldest son being now a nephrologist. Towards the end if his medical career Nick served as honorary medical adviser to the Liverpool Personal Service with which Ruth was associated.

On finally retiring Nick and Ruth went to live in Anglesey, and this was a very happy choice. They were interested and involved in local activities and joined various societies such as the Anglesey Antiquarian Society, the Cambrian Archaeological Society, and National Art Collection Fund. Nick, as a bibliophile, indulged himself in this hobby and was proud of his collection from the famous Gregynog Press of Newtown. Nick became fascinated with an Iron Age hoard at Llyn Cerrig Bach, found when clearing an area for the development of the Royal Air Force station near Valley, Anglesey. This provided Nick with one of his more fascinating lectures.

A good life, a happy life, an interesting life, and a fulfilled life sums up Nick's life. He is survived by Ruth, four children, and eight grandchildren, to whom he was so devoted. He is also survived by his younger brother and his three sons still farming the Home Farm and extended lands. He will long be remembered by numerous friends as a kind generous and humorous person, a raconteur of fascinating stories about his boyhood family connections with innumerable cousins.

Notes

Former consultant general physician and rheumatologist Whiston and St Helens Hospitals, Liverpool (b 28 August 1916; q Liverpool 1941; MRCP, FRCP), d 12 February 2007.


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