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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 December 1; 335(7630): 1161.
PMCID: PMC2099508

William Anthony Jerrett

William Anthony Jerrett (“Bill”) was born and educated in Cardiff. He was a keen sportsman in cricket and rugby, both in school and while a medical student at the Welsh National School of Medicine, Cardiff. He qualified in 1958.

After house jobs, he did national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Libya and Cyprus. He entered general practice in Pontyclun, Mid-Glamorgan, in 1964, where he worked without a day's absence through illness until he retired in 1994.

While in practice he collected data and published several papers in various journals on headaches, thyroid disease, and lethargy. The paper on lethargy in 1981 generated no interest whatsoever from the medical profession. However, when the phenomenon of ME (myalgic encephalitis) raised its head 10 years later, researchers were surprised to find that Bill's paper was the only prospective study on tiredness, anywhere in the world. He was inundated with requests for reprints.

From 1984, for nine years, he served on the Committee on Safety of Medicines and became joint course organiser to the East Glamorgan Hospital Vocational Training Scheme until he retired in 1994.

In 1995 he was awarded the OBE—he said he accepted it only so that his wife could meet the Queen.

After retirement, he became vice chairman of the Mid-Glamorgan Ambulance Trust for four years.

Just prior to retirement he learnt to play the violin—badly, he always said. In his musical career he played in three different orchestras.

He had a lifelong love of cricket and was a regular at Sophia Gardens after retirement.

He was an extremely popular teacher, always prepared to expose his own weaknesses despite considerable achievement through the years. He captivated and entertained his pupils and made learning enjoyable. He was a first rate raconteur, a skill which he used to great effect in both educational and social settings. During his terminal illness, he wrote a book documenting his illness. The contents were informative, touching, and extremely funny. He also wrote a book of his medical anecdotes. He raised many thousands of pounds from the sale of these works, which were donated to Velindre Hospital Oncology Centre, Cardiff—a fitting gesture from a truly unique doctor.

He is survived by his wife; two daughters, one of whom is a general practitioner; and three grandchildren.


Former general practitioner Pontyclun, Mid-Glamorgan (b 1934; q Welsh National School of Medicine 1958; OBE, FRCGP), died from metastatic prostate cancer on 8 August 2007.

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