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Biographical entry Wynn Parry, Christopher Berkeley (1924 - 2015)

MBE 1952; BM BCh Oxford 1947; DPhysMed 1950; DM 1954; MRCP 1959; FRCP 1972; FRCS 1978; Hon RCM 2011.

14 October 1924
24 February 2015
Rheumatologist and Specialist in performing arts medicine


Christopher Wynn Parry (known as 'Kit') was a rheumatologist who specialised in hand injuries and performing arts medicine. He was born on 14 October 1924 in Leeds, the son of Sir Henry Wynn Parry, a high court judge, and Shelagh Wynn Parry née Moynihan, daughter of the renowned surgeon and president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Lord Berkeley Moynihan. Wynn Parry was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford and qualified in 1947.

His studies were interrupted by tuberculosis, from which he made a slow recovery, and he was advised not to continue with his surgical training. Instead, he became a rheumatologist, and was heavily influenced by Sir Herbert Seddon, professor of orthopaedic surgery at Oxford, who was researching into nerve injuries and neuropathic pain.

After Oxford, Wynn Parry joined the Royal Air Force and became director of rehabilitation at the combined services rehabilitation centres at Chessington and Headley Court, where he established specialist services for neuro-rehabilitation and peripheral nerve injuries, and worked closely with hand surgeons in the RAF and at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH). He was also an early researcher into the use of EMG (electromyography) as a diagnostic tool. His work was summarised in Rehabilitation of the hand (London, Butterworth & Co, 1958), a pioneering text.

After retiring from the RAF, he established a centre for neuro-rehabilitation and peripheral nerve injuries at the RNOH, which became nationally and internationally renowned. During this period, he co-wrote Surgical disorders of the peripheral nerves (Edinburgh, Church Livingstone, 1998) with Rolfe Birch and George Bonney.

After retiring from the NHS, he continued to work privately in rehabilitation at the Devonshire and King Edward VII's hospitals, and also developed an interest in looking after the medical needs of musicians. With Ian James, he created the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) in 1989, a charity which provide medical advice and care to performers. In 1998, he collaborated with Ian Winspur to produce The musician's hand: a clinician's guide (London, Martin Dunitz), the first book of its kind in the English language.

He was elected as an honorary member of the Royal College of Music in 2011, among many other national and international honours. In 1982, he was elected as president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, the only non-surgeon so honoured.

In 1953, he married Morna Sawyer. They had three daughters and a son. Kit Wynn Parry died on 24 February 2015, aged 90. Predeceased by his wife and a daughter, his other children survived him.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Telegraph 19 March 2015 - accessed 13 July 2017; The Guardian 22 April 2015 - accessed 13 July 2017; BMJ 2015 350 1971 - accessed 13 July 2017; Munk's Roll of the Royal College of Physicians Christopher Berkeley Wynn Parry - accessed 13 July 2017].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England