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Biographical entry Blower, Alan Paske (1927 - 2010)

MRCS and FRCS 1960; MB BChir Cambridge 1951; MChir 1962; DMRD 1968.

31 January 1927
Greenwich, UK
9 March 2010
General surgeon and Radiologist


Alan Blower served in the medical branch of the RAF as a consultant surgeon for 17 years, but had to retire on health grounds in 1970. He retrained in radiology, and became a successful and popular consultant at Peterborough.

He was born in Greenwich on 31 January 1927, the only son of Thomas Paske Blower, a property owner in Greenwich and Deptford, and his wife Ethel Mary (née Mosses), the widow of a First World War pilot. Alan went to Wellington House School, Westgate, from 1935 to 1940 and for a further five years to Charterhouse for his secondary education. At school he was a good athlete and ran in short-distance races. He studied natural sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he took up rowing, and won the 'freshers' sculls'.

Proceeding to Guy's Hospital, he lodged with Sir John Conybeare, author of the eponymous Textbook of medicine. This time was not only useful to Blower in terms of training, but also enhanced his social graces.

Alan was fortunate to gain house appointments at Guy's Hospital and was greatly influenced by Grant Massie and Sam Wass. He joined the RAF on 30 March 1953 and continued his surgical training, partly under the supervision of W James L Harries, and obtained the FRCS in 1960. The week of negotiating this 'hurdle' was a cause for double celebration: his only son was also born in the same week. He was one of the few RAF surgeons to have a master's degree in surgery.

Sadly, he suffered a cerebro-vascular accident due to a vascular malformation: this resulted in some loss of use in his right hand. He was forced abandon any thought of a promising career in surgery and took up radiology, having gained the relevant diploma. He made a remarkable recovery from his stroke and took up windsurfing to keep himself fit.

Alan Blower became a consultant radiologist in Peterborough, where he was welcomed with open arms by the clinicians, as he took on the task of modernising the department. He transformed the radiology department from a 'read film only' service to a very active one in the clinical arena. He introduced arteriography and supported his urologist colleague, Alan Turner, in the use of plain film and ultrasound instead of IVP (intravenous pyelogram) in the investigation of prostatic problems. Ultrasound in obstetrics was introduced, as were many other innovations in diagnostic radiology. When CT scans were required, he was part of a group setting up a local fund to secure the equipment and was personally responsible for getting a mobile breast screening unit into the area.

He also installed equipment in his own home for use in private practice and was popular with GPs in the area because he had his own portable X-ray machine.

Alan Blower underwent successful treatment of a bladder cancer and, after undergoing carotid endarterectomy in Peterborough, he surprised everyone by recuperating in Spain three weeks after surgery.

Although he retired from the NHS in 1992, Alan Blower continued to work as a locum in Peterborough and other East Anglian areas for many years thereafter.

Although he was very active in his hospital work and a loyal and approachable colleague to clinicians of many specialties and general practitioners, in his spare time he pursued many hobbies. He was a member of a shooting syndicate in Stapleford Park and with his family he sailed a fireball boat on Rutland water. Up to 2007, he and his wife fished in Scotland on many rivers. Alan also took up golf again when new courses opened in the Peterborough area. Although his mobility deteriorated over the years, he played down any disability by using a golf buggy. In more sedentary moments he was a competent watercolour artist.

He was active up to two weeks before his death on 9 March 2010 and was survived his wife Jean née Brodie, a Guy's trained theatre nurse, whom he had married in 1953, their three daughters, Amanda, Susan and Charlotte, and son, David Charles, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

N Alan Green

Sources used to compile this entry: Information from Jean Blower, W J L Harries and Alan Turner.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England