1.       Editorial - Graeme Wilcox
2.       Greetings from Phyllis Oxberrow
3.       Musical Imnterlude - Graeme Wilcox
4.       Retiring President's Address - Martin Lewis
5.       Annual Dinner - Gail Brown
6.       Incoming President's Address - Tim Wadsworth
7.       Cricket News - Tony Carter
8.       Obituary - Harry Buchannan
9.       Obituary - Walter Dunsby
10.     GPs Offered Hospital Sweetener

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In January 1992 in anticipation of the Society's centenary, it was agreed that the Society should start a Newsletter. Since that time the content of the Newsletter has been gathered and prepared by myself and the publication, editing and printing by Barrie Davies. We both agree that it has been an exciting and very fulfilling challenge which we both have enjoyed very much.

On the whole we feel it has been a very successful enterprise and is now very much part of the Society's scene. Furthermore many members tell me how much they look forward to receiving the next edition - especially since Jan Adams started her trips abroad. I have now passed a certain birthday and am no longer in the close contact with the medical scene quite as formerly; and the publisher, Barrie Davies, has also gone out of active clinical general practice and spends a lot of his time at 35,000 feet in aero medical work.

And so the Editor feels it is time he gave up his position as editor of the Newsletter and Barrie also feels that it won't be too long before he wishes to relinquish his task as he will be spending much more time in his other home in Florida.  We intend to carry on producing this Newsletter for the next year or so, but feel it is important that we get another team in post to carry on from us. Not only to continue with the same job, but to bring a fresh view and invigorate the Newsletter which, without Jan Adamsí contributions, would be getting pretty stale by now.

I look forward to hearing names before too long.


Graeme Wilcox

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Members may recall Phyllis Oxborrow who worked at the Health Centre, Kidderminster for many years and who subsequently went to Tanzania . She and her husband recently returned to Kidderminster for a time (she has family in the town). Phyllis did a 'catch upí 6 months Registrar job, but has now decided to return to Tanzania . I enclose an extract from some recent correspondence.

  I did my 6 month G.P. Registrar post with Julian Davey, at Winyates, Redditch . It was a good trainee post, and I was able to do a few locums for them afterwards. Now, however, we are starting our preparations for our return to East Africa . We are expecting to go back to Tanzania for just a few months and then move on to a new post in Kenya . No doubt I shall find some use for my medical skills there, but I don't think much of my medical work will resemble present-day U.K. General Practice. I don't know how you all keep going in the present political climate and with patients' expectations as they are now. Greetings to members of the society and any other 'old' friends and acquaintances.


Phyllis Chesworth (Oxborrow)

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Musical Interlude


As part of Martin Lewis's year as president he organised a Society outing to the Centenary concert of the Kidderminster Choral Society of which he is a member. The week of music making to celebrate the centenary of Kidderminster Choral Society ended with a splendid concert in the town hall on the 19th of June. The Choral Society was joined by Theodor Storms Choir from Husum which had celebrated it's 150th anniversary a few years ago.

The evening began with a short speech by Charles Talbot who outlined the history of the society and this was followed by presentations by each choir tomark the occasion. Geoffrey Weaver, the conductor, then explained to the audience that the Mozart Requiem was in fact performed at the first concert in 1899 and history was repeating itself a hundred years later.

  The concert began with Andrew Carter's 'Benidicite'. This was a delightful piece depicting various animals, different types of weather, spirits and souls and Grannies and Grand dads to name only a few. The choirs were joined by the Wyre Forest Young Voices, a group of talented teenagers, who sang two of the verses.

The first half of the concert concluded with two parts of William Sterndale Bennett's May Queen which was also performed at the Society's very first concert. Geoffrey Weaver mentioned that the music was very 'Sullivan" in character. Stemdale Bennett actually taught Arthur Sullivan when in his early days as a student.

The second half of the concert was devoted to Mozart's Requiem. This wonderful piece of music was beautifully performed by choirs and orchestra alike and rounded off a memorable evening. The orchestra, The Elgar Sinfonia, was superb, it's musicians being young professionals some of whom play for the CBSO, and the four vocal soloists matched their excellence.

Graeme Wilcox

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I must confess that when I was first invited to become President of the Society for the past year, I had some trepidation about accepting the honour. However, I am now happy to reassure any future candidates for this position that the support of the Events Committee, and particularly of our Social Secretary, David Malcomson, has made the experience a very pleasant one indeed for Maureen and myself. I have certainly come to appreciate how much we owe to David and Liz, who have played such a crucial role in enabling the Society to continue to flourish over recent years.

During my year in office, I was greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of all those who supported our initial event at Church Stretton and my thanks are particularly due to Richard Horton, who led the main walking party up onto Long Mynd, and to the management of the Long Mynd Hotel, who looked after us so well when we adjourned there for lunch. It was particularly gratifying to see so many youngsters taking part and I hope that it may be possible to devise some similar family-centred activities in future years.

The other events this year have been of a slightly more esoteric nature to tempt the more discerning members of our Society. The Dawn Chorus Walk in Wyre Forest , organised by David, was certainly a delight for me and was followed by an excellent breakfast at the Visitors Centre. The sound of a song thrush singing from the top of a large oak tree, sadly a relatively rare experience in recent years, will stay in my memory for a long time to come as will the song and flight of a tree pipit, so expertly highlighted by Neville Wilde, our ornithologist guide for the morning.

I would also like to thank all those who supported the Kidderminster Choral Society in their centenary concert. Modesty forbids me to comment on the quality of the singing, but the wine in the interval, kindly organised by Wendy Kingston, certainly went down well.

I was delighted that we were able to organise another cricket match this year as a prelude to the invitation to Tim Curtis to address our annual dinner. Our team, skilfully captained by Tony Carter, had accepted a challenge from the Stourbridge Medical Society. Having rather pathetically pulled a muscle the first time I ran for a ball in the field, my only real contribution to the game was, as umpire, to turn down what was, of course, a totally unjustified appeal for leg before wicket in the final over. As a result, we won the match with the very last ball of the game and then went off to The Talbot in Chaddesley Corbett to celebrate!

It was good to be able to return to Spring Grove House for the Annual Dinner this year. The Organisation of the event by David Malcomson was again faultless and the meal and ambience appeared to give great pleasure to all those who attended. I think we all enjoyed the after dinner talk by Tim Curtis and some of his self-deprecating anecdotes were very amusing indeed. Thanks to Tim's very modest fee requirement, the event should also have made a small profit, which I hope we will be able to donate to the Cancer Resource Centre Trust Fund.

My year as President has definitely brought home to me the important role that the Society plays in fostering the best possible relationship between the various strands of medical practice within this community. Unfortunately, there is no doubt that the changing pattern of hospital services over the next few years will make the unity of our medical community much more difficult to sustain. However, I hope and believe that the current strength of the Society can be preserved if we all redouble our efforts to support Tim Wadsworth and all future Presidents in this very worthwhile endeavour.


Martin Lewis

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The Annual Dinner of the Kidderminster Medical Society was held at Spring Grove House on Friday, September 17th (not Saturday18th!). Over ninety members, partners and guests enjoyed an excellent meal, enlivened by the conversation of friends and colleagues.

Dr. Martin Lewis welcomed everyone, spoke of his honour at being elected President and thanked David and Liz Malcolmson and their committee for all their hard work in in organising the event. He went on to thank Dr. Richard Taylor and his committee for their unstinting efforts in trying to save the hospital and welcomed the concessions they had won. Thanks were also offered to those who made both the walks on Long Mynd and in Wyre Forest such a success.

Basking in the glory of Kidderminster 's victory over Stourbridge Medical Society by one run, Dr. Lewis welcomed the evening's guest speaker, Tim Curtis. Sometime Captain and Vice-Captain of Worcestershire County Cricket Club, Tim represented England twice against the West Indies and three times against Australia . However he still managed to fall victim to the bowling skills of Dr. Campion when the latter bowled him out during a local match.

Tim opened in a self-deprecating vein; he described himself variously as a "pipe and slippers" batsman and "cricket's answer to a Sunday driver". To the amusement of the assembled company, he said that he was sponsored by Volvo Cars as they shared similar scores of 0 - 60 in three days. Moving on to fellow Worcestershire team members, he praised Ian Botham for his truly outstanding all-round skills, Tom Moody for his level headedness under pressure and Graeme Hick for his contribution to the County's success. He said that Graeme was a "lovely guy", but poked gentle fun at him as he recounted the occasion when Graeme was more pleased at solving the "Sun" crossword than the same day's score of 405 runs in one innings against Somerset !

Tim said that in a long and happy career with Worcestershire, one of his best memories was when they won the "NatWest Trophy" for the first time in 1994. He concluded by asserting that the secret of good captaincy was "to be lucky".

Dr. David Malcolmson thanked Tim for an enjoyable and light hearted talk and proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the Society.

Gail Brown

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I am very conscious of the honour of being elected President of the Kidderminster Medical Society. I would like to thank Martin Lewis for his very successful stewardship of the last year. We have had music, walking, cricket, tennis and bird watching at 4 in the morning. These events have all been very enjoyable and I shall be hard put to it to maintain the standard.

I am not the the first President and probably not the last, whose father held the office before him. Sam, Lionel and John Stretton were a dynasty that is not likely to be repeated. Sam Wadsworth was elected President in 1958 after being proposed by Bob Gibbins, who preceded him. At that time the President acted as a sort of Clincal Tutor. Among the speakers that Sam arranged were Hugh Mclaren and Thomas McKeown, Birmingham Professors of Obstetrics and Social Medicine respectively, both of whom taught me and other Birmingham Graduates now in Kidderminster. Professor McKeown said then that hospitals should get larger but for reasons different from those that seem to be the case now. Other speakers were Charles Evans, a neurologist, also a Himalayan climber of some distinction who talked about altitude sickness, and Edward Ellis-Jones, a GP from Bristol and the Charles Hastings prize-winner of 1957, a friend of my father, whom I dimly remember, who talked about his research into blood pressure and urinary changes in children with nephritis and various diseases. One of the things Edward Ellis-Jones mentioned, 41 years ago, was the importance of the right size of cuff to measure blood pressure, something that we're still learning. All in all, this was quite an impressive postgraduate education programme. The President of that time was also expected to throw a big party for his colleagues, mostly out of his

own pocket, and Sam said to me that he had to go and see his bank manager to persuade him to increase his overdraft for this purpose. Since then the President's function has changed and become more social than academic, postgraduate education having been taken over by a subsidiary of the society. Subscriptions have increased a little and I am hoping not to have to go and see my bank manager.  

Thirdly, what of the future? Times change, and it seems inevitable that here there will be big changes very shortly. The Kidderminster Medical Society has always enhanced the good relationship that exists between consultants and GPs in the town and which has oiled the mechanics, in unmeasurable ways, of the medical service that we give our patients. The future hospital arrangements may become similar to what they were 40 years ago and we may have only visiting consultants for Kidderminster-, but those coming to work in the town will be very welcome in the Society, as, for instance John Malins was then, and just as our colleagues from Dudley, for example, are now. The Society has always existed simply for those medical professionals (dental and veterinary too) who work or live in the town and district. There will, I am sure, always be such people working here in spite of of all these changes, and this Society is for those people. I might add that this Society, over a hundred years old, has been around longer than the present party of government.

Tim Wadsworth

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Kidderminster Medical Society Cricket Team pulled off a thrilling last ball victory over their Stourbridge and Dudley counterparts on the 30th of June. An enjoyable competitive game was played out in the delightful surroundings of Chaddesley Corbett Cricket Club culminating in an exciting run chase by the Kidderminster batsmen as well as a race against time in view of the fading light and the increasingly desperate need for liquid refreshment at the pub.

The game began with a tidy bowling and fielding performance by the MedSoc side marred only by a torn hamstring sustained by our inspirational president. Highlights included some athletic fielding by Tim "the cat" Campion, and an outstanding catch behind the wicket by John "eyes closed" Spalding. The Black Country side finished with a tidy total, including a decent knock by Dave "Judas" Richards.

After a steady start our heroes suffered a mini-collapse due to a combination of poor light and poor eyesight. Spurred on by support from the  small but vociferous and glamorous crowd, the partnership of "scampering "Dave Malcolmson and "lumbering" Tony Carter plundered 12 runs off the last over to break Stourbridge hearts.

Afterwards all participants adjourned to "The Talbot" in Chaddesley for beer, food, and tall tales about their dubious achievements. Man of the match award has to go to Sam Morgan for a solid all-round performance despite having to play for the opposition and suffering the humiliation of being bowled out by his dad. An enjoyable evening sure to be repeated next year.

Tony Carter


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Harry Buchannan

Harry died in 1997 and so apologies for this belated obituary; it is however appropriate that it appears in the same edition as one of his closest friends, Walter Dunsby.

  Harry was the last of the 'Old Guard' of Kidderminster Doctors. He came to Kidderminster in the 30's, after qualifying in Trinity College Dublin, and worked as a houseman in Mill Street Hospital at the same time as Bob Lurring.  They both joined Peter Porterís practice in Church Street for a number of years before both setting up shop on their own, Harry in Mill Street by the side of the old Black Horse hotel and Bob in Church Street . Harry developed a thriving practice in an area which, in those days, was densely populated.

  In 1950, he took on a partner, Dr. John Brotherton, and together they worked for 22 years before moving in 1972 from Mill Street to the Health Centre in Bromsgrove Street . Harry took with him to the Health Centre, one of the first practice nurses in the area and a very close family friend, Beena Dunsby, Wal Dunsbyís wife. Shortly after moving to Bromsgrove Street , Harry retired from general practice and took great pleasure in telling everyone that it took two Welshmen to replace him.  Shortly after this Harry firstly moved to his cottage on the Lleyn Peninsular at Nevyn but then afterwards he moved to be near his daughter in Kent .

One of my most abiding memories of Harry was at a Christmas party in the Croft. After initially a fairly dull evening he suddenly decided to start the party going and played the piano for over an hour with us all joining in community singing! It was very typical of Harry in that he was a natural extrovert and loved a bit of fun.

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Walter Dunsby who died in December 1998 was Senior Lab Technician at Mill Street Hospital , and later at Bewdley Road Hospital , for many years. He was a Birmingham man and initially trained at Queens Hospital , Bath Row, Birmingham . He moved from there in 1939 to Kidderminster ,  I believe having been tempted here by Prof. Malins. He initially ran the Path Lab, which was in the heart of Mill Street Hospital , single handed. He was normally controlled by a busy Consultant who was based in Harley Street but who rarely attended here.

  In 1954 the Path Lab moved to Sunnyside - a recently demolished building in the hospital grounds - with a staff of two or three. A that time the Consultant was a Dr. Cruickshank who was shared between Kidderminster and Bromsgrove hospitals and who spent most of his time in Bromsgrove. Dr.Cruikshank's main role was to perform post mortems and in fact Walter's work was rarely supervised to any significant degree. In 1965 he was made an honorary member of the Medical Society for his services to medicine in Kidderminster and District ,and he was a member and a regular attender thereafter for many years. Walter transferred with the Path Lab to Bewdley Road in 1973 at which time Dr. Cruickshank was replaced by Dr. Lewis who is still in charge of Haematology. One of Walterís claims to fame was his very able piono playing at all concerts and dances at Mill Street .

  Walter retired in 1980, to be followed by David Rea who continued as his successor until the mid 90's. He maintained his contacts with the Medical Society and the Post Graduate Centre and was seen until not long before his death to be a regular attender at the Monday lunchtime meetings. He leaves a wife Beena who still lives in Blakebrook. Walter married Bena when she was a sister in the out patients department and before she became the first practice nurse in Kidderminster with Harry Buchannan.

  The Editor wishes to acknowledge the help of David and Brenda Rea for providing information for this obituary.


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The Health Authority has offered G.P.s the chance to have up to 35 beds on the hospital site after the closure of acute services. At a stormy meeting, G.P.s were divided in their response to this offer, many feeling that it was a buck passing attempt to solve a problem created by the Health Authority itself in the first place. Others, naturally concerned for the welfare of their patients, were keen to accept the offer. And some felt that it was a short term solution to what was bound to be a growing problem of bed shortages for the Wyre Forest area in the first place, and in longer term, the County.

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