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Biographical entry Green, Jean Anne (1930 - 2015)

MB BS London 1953; DCH 1956; FRCS 1957.

25 May 1930
14 February 2015
General surgeon


Jean Anne Evans was an assistant specialist surgeon in renal medicine at Glan Clwyd Hospital, and prior to that at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl. She was born on 25 May 1930 in Sheffield. Her father, Herbert Oliver ('Bunny') Evans, was a Congregational minister and her mother, Gertrude Mary ('Molly') Evans née Wilson, had studied at Sheffield Art College. Jean's great aunt was Helen Wilson, one of the first women to qualify at the London School of Medicine for Women, a campaigner against the state regulation of prostitution, honorary secretary and president of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene, and president of the Sheffield Women's Suffrage Society. She always took a keen interest in Jean's career.

Jean was initially brought up in Kendal, where her father was minister of the Zion Congregational Chapel. At the start of the Second World War, in 1939, she and her sister, Elizabeth, were sent to board at Milton Mount College for ministers' daughters in Crawley, Sussex, where she developed a love of music and sport and became head girl in her final year.

In 1948 she commenced her medical studies at University College London and UCH. She swam backstroke and dived for the university swimming team and rowed in the college eight. In her final year she won the Liston gold medal for excellence in surgery and also the Atchison scholarship for best all-round final year student.

In 1953 she gained her MB BS and was appointed to house physician and surgery posts at UCH. 'A rare distinction for a female student', as described in a saved newspaper cutting.

In 1954, she moved to Liverpool, working initially at Sefton General Hospital, then Myrtle Street Children's Hospital and Alder Hey Children's Hospital, and subsequently as a surgical registrar at the Royal Southern Hospital. She gained her fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1957.

During this time she met Rodney Irwin Green and they were married in September 1958, moving to Denbigh in north Wales in February 1959 when Rodney was appointed as a consultant radiologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl.

Jean held several posts at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, including in the community health department, examining pre-op ENT patients and in child health. Career progression for women in surgery remained particularly difficult at this time, and when Rodney asked the consultant surgeon, Ivor Lewis, if there was any work in his department that would be suitable for Jean he was told 'he'd never worked with a woman and wasn't going to start'!

In 1960 she and Rodney moved to a large family home in Tremeirchion with six acres of woodland and fields. They embarked on a programme creating a beautiful garden and building ponds. Jean left medicine for 10 years to bring up her growing family of four children.

During the 1970s she resumed her hospital career as an associate specialist, initially in occupational health and then in the renal unit, where she used her surgical skills to create the arteriovenous fistulae for those patents requiring dialysis. She also trained in colonoscopy investigation, and was given a consultant session to do this. In 1986 she retired from medicine to allow more time for her passions of botany and music.

Jean was an experienced flute, oboe and cor anglais player. She was chairman of the Denbigh music club for a while, and played in the Philharmonia Orchestra of North Wales. She also sang with the St Asaph Choral Society. Her greatest music legacy was as one of the founder organisers of the Tremeirchion Bach St Matthew Passion, inaugurated in 1964 and performed each year on Good Friday in the village church. 2014 was its 50th year, and Jean was able to attend for the last time.

She was a passionate naturalist and botanist, initially helping Goronwy Wynne with his Flora of Flintshire book. She then became the Botanical Society of the British Isles botanical county recorder for Denbighshire. She had an enormous depth of knowledge, with impressive near instantaneous recollection of colloquial and Latin plant names. She published Flowering plants and ferns of Denbighshire (Kurt Stuber) in 1999.

Jean was a keen member of the North Wales Wildlife Trust for many years, becoming vice president of the organisation's council in 2007 and setting up the conservation committee for north-east Wales. She was always on call to assist the conservation staff on botanical matters. She was also the inspiration and key fundraiser behind the purchase of Tremeirchion's local nature reserve, Y Graig, and managed the reserve for 14 years. She was awarded a Wildlife Trust gold badge in 2001 for services to wildlife.

She died on 14 February 2015, aged 84. She was survived by her four children - Helen, Richard, Sally and Jeremy.

Sally Green

Sources used to compile this entry: [Owen, B. Following our own nature: medical women who started Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and friends, 1948-1980 Gwynedd, Gwasg y Bwthyn, 2010].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England