Medical Graduates of 1955

1955 – 46 Year Reunion

 

Six years had passed since our last reunion. Although the passage of time may not have been kind to all of us, a group in good spirits attended a reunion at Edgbaston on Saturday 6th October 2001. We were sad that Colin Green who had been the excellent organiser of all of our previous reunions (with the assistance of Jay Chitnis) had died earlier in the year, but pleased that his widow Jean, whom we had all known since our student days, was able to join us.

 

The reunion started with a tour of the Medical School, and for those who had not visited the building since 1955 the changes were surprising. The museum was unrecognisable with its rows of computer terminals. The dissecting room was divided up into seminar rooms, although one could still recognise the door through which Ernie Simms entered and ‘our’ door at the other end. Gone was the canteen! Dr. Martyn Harris, the Assistant Dean (Estates), gave an interesting talk about the present curriculum of the now 350 students in each year. The afternoon had been left free to enable individuals to get together in self selecting groups and there was excellent feedback from those who visited the Barber Institute and the splendid Walsall New Art Gallery.

 

It is sad to report that 15 members starting out with us in 1950 had died, but 39 of the members of the final year with their 27 guests were able to attend an excellent dinner at Hornton Grange. There were 25 messages with good wishes from those unable to attend, mostly with very good reasons. We raised a glass to them, and other colleagues not present. There were no speeches and a happy time was spent reminiscing.

 

It was generally agreed that Cliff Franklin had taken on the mantle of organiser of the reunion so naturally, with the able assistance of Jay Chitnis and Mary Dykes (née Moss), and the hope was expressed that he would be prevailed upon to arrange a 50 year reunion in 2005.

 

Those present at the dinner were:

George Atkins and Joan Atkins, Roby Banks (née Sharples) and John Banks, John Bennett, Alastair Binnie and Jean Binnie, Dora Black (née Braham), Alan Blunt and Jane Blunt, Glyn Brown and Nancy Brown (née Campbell), Keith Buckler and Janet Buckler, Peter Chaudoir and Diana Chaudoir, Jay Chitnis and Sheila Chitnis, Helen Coultas (née Martson), Brenda Davy (née Bodenham) and Peter Davy, Tara Dogra and Connie Dogra, Mary Dykes (née Moss) and Peter Dykes, Brenda Evans (née Browne) and David Evans, Cliff Franklin and Doris Franklin, John Goode and Beryl Goode, Jean Green, Molly Hall (née Hill), Max Harper, John Holliday and Jeni Holliday, David Larard and Elizabeth Larard, Ron Miller and Ellen Miller, Tony Parker, Alan Parks, Eric Peters and Margaret Peters (née Hill Owens), Dick Reynolds, Marcus Rigby and Kay Rigby, Michael Rutter and Marjorie Rutter, Roger Rimmer, Leslie Smith and Margaret Smith, Myrtle Summerly and Richard Kempa, Malcolm Taylor and Anne Taylor, Tony Tooth and Denise Tooth, Gordon Varley and Gwyneth Varley, Malcolm Warwick and Sylvia Warwick, John Webster and Patricia Webster, and Elizabeth Williamson (née George) and David Williamson.

 

Betty Thacker (née Scott) attended the visit to the Medical School but family commitments prevented her from attending the dinner.

 

The 15 who started out with us at the Medical School in 1950 who have died, are: Michael Baddeley, Bob Cawley, Alf Cutler, Colin Green, John Haslam, Compton Haynes, Daphne Jones (née Mahabir) Rene Maigrot, Stylianos Nicolaides, Stanley Middleburgh, Derek Officer, John Pearce, Frank Sayer, Roy Summerly, and Bernard Williams.

 

Report on the Reunion of the Year of 1955

 

Hornton Grange – Birmingham University Conference Park on Saturday 8th October 2005.

 

The fiftieth anniversary of graduation was celebrated by the year of ’55 on 8th October 2005. We are most grateful to Cliff Franklin for tracking us down and, with the able assistance of Jay Chitnis and Mary Dykes, organising a memorable day.

 

The day started with coffee in the Board Room of the Medical School (with recollections of Charlie Smout and interviews!) and then to the newly refurbished and much more comfortable Lecture Hall 4. There Mel Morris, the project manager of the building of the new hospital, gave an excellent presentation of the new hospital centre. He was followed by Robert Arnott, the Sub-Dean of medicine, who talked about the changes for the student body, curriculum and teaching. There will be around 400 students, more than half of whom will be women. Slides were shown of the new Student Facilities Building which is under construction.

 

Then to the social business of the day, with first a sandwich lunch at Hornton Grange, and the beginnings of much catching up over the activities of the previous four years.

 

There were 110 of us who started the course in ‘second year’ on that October day in 1950. We lost a few colleagues on the way, courtesy of the examiners. 20 have sadly died; but only a handful defied Cliff’s detective work and appear to be ‘lost to follow-up’. So 68 sat down to an excellent dinner at Hornton Grange, of whom 42 were ‘our year’. Of the rest of the year, several were prevented from coming by distance, illness, double booking, or just ‘don’t do reunions’. However, many sent letters of good wishes for the occasion. Gabriel Horn proposed the “Health of the Year and Absent Friends”. He spoke after the first course in order that he might enjoy the rest of the dinner. He reminded us in his delightful speech, that the start of our medical career was only two years after the beginning of the NHS, at a time when some food items were still rationed!

 

The attached photographs, for which we have to thank David Pearson, show that a good time was had by all, and that, on the whole, we’re all doing pretty well. Cliff Franklin has organised our last two reunions following the untimely death of Colin Green. We are sure his computer can now make the arrangements on its own, so we look forward to another reunion in less than five years!

 

Brenda Evans (née Browne)

30th November 2005

 

Attendees at the Reunion Dinner

42 members of the Year of 1955 and 26 Guests

Brian Baker and Jeanne Baker, Roby Banks (née Sharples) and John Banks, John Bennett and Eleanor Bennett, Alastair Binnie and Jean Binnie, Dora Black (née Braham), Glyn Brown and Nancy Brown (née Campbell), Keith Buckler and Janet Buckler, Peter Chaudoir and Diana Chaudoir, Jay Chitnis and Sheila Chitnis, Brenda Davy (Née Bodenham) and Peter Davy, Ray Dobson and Sue Dobson, Mary Dykes (née Moss) and Peter Dykes, Jim Earp and Carole Earp, Brenda Evans (née Browne) and David Evans, Christine Fitzgerald, Cliff Franklin and Doris Franklin, John Goode and Beryl Goode, Mollie Hall (née Hill), Peter Hall and Gwynneth Hall, Sheila Hancock, Barry Hansell and Hilary Hansell, Tony Harbott and Angela Harbott, Max Harper, John Holliday and Jenni Holliday, Gabriel Horn, Ann Jessop (née Fisher), Leslie Lewis and Jeannette Lewis, Ron Miller and Ellen, Tony Parker and Madeleine Parker, Alan Parkes, David Pearson, Eric Peters and Margaret Peters (née Hill-Owens), Dick Reynolds, Marcus Rigby and Kay Rigby, Roger Rimmer, Myrtle Summerly (née White) and Richard Kempa, Bryony Taylor (née Reid) John Taylor, Rob Tinkler and Iris Tinkler, John Webster and Patricia Webster, Elizabeth Williamson (née George).

 

Photographs taken by David Pearsen (DCP) and Cliff Franklin (CBF).