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Biographical entry Jennings, Melvin Calverley (1939 - 2006)

FRCS 1969; MRCS 1963; MB BS London 1963; LRCP 1963.

21 June 1939
25 June 2006
General surgeon and Urologist


Melvin Calverly Jennings ('Mel') was a urologist and general surgeon at East Surrey Hospital. He was born on 21 June 1939, into a surgical family. His father, Calverly Jennings, was a fellow of the college and a GP surgeon who worked at Epsom Cottage Hospital before the advent of the NHS. His mother Josephine ('Jo') Jennings was a nurse. Mel's elder brother, Nigel, became a barrister. Mel was educated at Epsom College, where he played rugby and was captain of the school team, and then went on to St Bartholomew's to study medicine. Whilst a student he continued his enthusiasm for rugby, playing for Bart's and Harlequin Wanderers, eventually becoming captain of the hospital team.

After qualifying in 1963, he was a house surgeon to Robin McNab Jones in the ENT department at Bart's. His aim, however, was to specialise in urology. He held appointments in the renal unit at Hammersmith, as a surgical registrar at Redhill Hospital, and as a senior surgical registrar rotating between Portsmouth and Southampton under the tutelage of urologists Forbes Abercrombie and John Vinnicombe.

He was appointed as a consultant at the East Surrey Hospital (formerly Redhill Hospital) as a general surgeon with an interest in urology, before creating a urology department. He was a member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) and a keen supporter of the annual alpine workshop of the section of urology of the Royal Society of Medicine.

He also continued to support Bart's Rugby Club and was elected president. He benefited from the enthusiastic support of his wife Deanna née Layton ('Dee'), a specialist in sports medicine, whom he had met when they were students at Bart's. Together they arranged tours to Hong Kong for the Bart's rugby team and, before Bart's merged with the London Hospital, they took a touring side to South Africa to play in Cape Town and Durban.

Mel and Dee had three sons, all of whom became fellows at the college: Andrew is a urologist, Simon an orthopaedic surgeon, and Robin a general surgeon.

Whilst on holiday in 2004 Mel was diagnosed with a cerebral tumour, which was treated surgically, but he died on 25 June 2006, aged 67.

Michael Pugh

The Royal College of Surgeons of England