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Obituary: Victor Ronald Tindall

A tribute given at the July 2010 meeting of Council

Victor Ronald Tindall, past Vice President and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Mary’s Hospital Manchester, sadly died on June 11th, 2010.

Vic as he was affectionately known excelled in two walks of life, medicine and sport.

His particular sporting prowess was first noted at school where he excelled on the athletics track and on the rugby field. He attended Liverpool University with a scholarship to read medicine.....winning the University Athletics Championships at 100,200,400 and 880 yds. as well as long jump and high jump in his first year and perhaps not surprisingly was anointed Victor Ludorum.

n addition, he excelled on the rugby field playing for his school, Liverpool University, New Brighton, Cheshire, the RAF, Barbarians and not least of all England the latter as a final year medic where he played on the wing. He was the only “back” to keep his place during England’s 1951 season, winning all 4 of his caps. The 5 nations that year, however, ended with 3 losses and the one and only win was sadly against the “auld enemy” 5-3!

Career

He was born on the 8th January 1928. His early education was at Wallasey Grammar School on the Wirral before attending Liverpool University. His National Service was deferred till after his university education and having chosen the RAF he was given the questionable privilege of having to examine all the prospective recruits to the WRAF! He graduated in 1952. I’m afraid I don’t know much of his early posts but he was appointed Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff from 1965-1972 prior to his appointment as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital and Manchester University, 1972-1993, in total 21 years as the Professor.

He had an extensive bibliography and perhaps foremost in his mind might have been his Editorship of Jeffcoate’s “Principles and Practice of Gynaecology”......he was extremely proud and honoured to follow in the footsteps of his original mentor. He ascribed to the mantra that all the facts of a clinical case needed to be considered before reaching a conclusion and then being able to justify it. He never allowed the patient to be forgotten ...perhaps he was the forerunner of Darzi’s “ patient experience metric ” although one might be forgiven for believing that this aspect was not actually something new for most if not all practising clinicians!

RCOG

He was a great College man, first becoming involved as Members’ representative in 1967 for 6 years before two stints as Fellows representative, the second of which culminated in his appointment as Vice President in 1989. As one might expect with such a long and distinguished career at Sussex Place he sat on nearly all of the College committees. His particular interest was Education and Training and one of his many notable achievements was the setting up the MCQ’s for Part 1 MRCOG.

He was Sims Black Professor in 1985, travelling to Saudi, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Cyprus and was the William Meredith Fletcher Shaw lecturer in 1990. His subject - “Great men of the north” provided a fascinating insight into the Cheshire and Lancashire contribution to our specialty, to the NEOGS and above all to their prodigious contribution to our College.

Professionally, he was a quiet modest man and one of the most generous one could ever hope to meet. He had a phenomenal work ethic, for example often working late into the evening on a Thursday night before driving down to a College or Council meeting arriving well after midnight. He seemed to have loved driving all the way down – for some reason. Tony Smith describes Vic giving him a lift back to Manchester from the College and having to close his eyes at the speed of his driving. Paul Barnet remembers him working hard in the Examinations Department ...all morning and then disappearing ….only a short while later he would telephone Paul who would then say “well where are you” only to find it was the theatre sister at St Mary’s as he would be half way through a Wertheims hysterectomy in Manchester having forgotten to mention some small detail to Paul!.

He was ALWAYS volunteering for something ...a “can do “character, a tremendous vivacious enthusiast. He had a number of rather nice idiosyncrasies for example presenting MRCOG graduates from Manchester with a College tie after the ceremony….or something appropriate for the ladies.

Home

He married Brenda in 1955 and they have 2 children (Simon and Sally) who between them have produced 7 grandsons. He retired from active practice in the mid 1990’s although continued to advise national bodies for some time later. He was awarded a CBE in 1992 for services to Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Unfortunately, his final years were blighted by Parkinson’s Disease and he was cared for at home in Hale, Cheshire, where he died peacefully on June 11th, at nearly 82 years of age.

David Richmond