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Biographical entry Kell, Robert Anthony (1939 - 2003)

FRCS 1969; MB ChB St Andrews 1963; FRCS Edinburgh 1968; FRCPS Glasgow.

Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK
17 December 2003
ENT surgeon


Robert Anthony Kell, known as ‘Robin’, was a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at the Victoria Infirmary and Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. He was born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1939, the son of William Kell, a colliery manager and Lilian. His mother died from leukaemia when Robin was only seven, and he was brought up by his father and stepmother, Ann, in Acomb. He was educated at the Friends’ School, Brookfield, Wigton, a co-educational boarding school, where his report reads: “he will develop not only into a first class scientist but also a man of wide sympathies and a strong social conscience”. He had hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps, but failed the coal board medical due to his eyesight.

After graduating from St Andrews in 1963, he trained at Dundee Royal and the department of anatomy, Dundee. He began his ENT training in Dundee, but then moved to the Liverpool ENT Hospital to develop this interest further. He was appointed to his consultant posts in Glasgow in 1972. He was the clinical director for ENT at the Victoria Infirmary and Southern General Hospital for many years. His main interests were in audiology, the middle ear, and head and neck oncology.

Robin served on the council for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, was President of the Scottish ENT Society and was an examiner for the intercollegiate board.

He married Babs Scorgie, whom he met while working in Dundee. An expert pianist, he enjoyed music, playing the fiddle, and played with the Strathspey and Reel Society. He was also a keen traveller, particularly enjoying visiting Italy, the Lake District and west Cork. He died from metastatic prostate cancer on 17 December 2003, leaving a daughter, Valerie, and two sons, Alistair and Malcolm Kell, a general surgeon and a Fellow of our College. There are two grandchildren, Ruby and Genevieve.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2004 328 960, with portrait; information from Malcolm Kell.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England