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Biographical entry Willett, George (1933 - 1995)

MRCS 1957; FRCS 1967; MB BChir Cambridge 1960; LRCP 1957.

11 February 1933
Leigh, Lancashire
20 November 1995
General practitioner and Paediatric surgeon


George Willett was born on 11 February 1933 at Leigh, Lancashire, the son of George Willett, a canon of the Church of England and his wife Beatrice, née Juniper. Willett won a music scholarship at Denstone College and was runner-up in the organ scholarship examination for Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. On coming down from Cambridge in 1954 he went to Guy's Hospital Medical School, qualifying MRCS and LRCP in 1957. After qualification he did two years' national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Northern Ireland and later worked as senior surgical registrar in paediatric surgery at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children from 1969 to 1971, when he decided to go into general practice in Kelvedon, Essex.

On 19 May 1962 he married Joyce Ketteringham, SRN. Outside medicine his other interests were music and chess: he was a very talented pianist and organist who played for church services from the age of 10, and gave organ recitals; he was Medical News chess champion 1976.

He died from ischaemic heart disease on 20 November 1995 aged 61 and was survived by his wife and adopted son, David. Mr J. Douglas George writes:

'I had the pleasure of training with George Willett when we were both senior registrars in paediatric surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast in 1968-9. After I became a consultant surgeon in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 1970, I again worked with George before he decided to take up general practice and went to work in Kelvedon, Essex. He was a superb doctor and a very capable surgeon. I actually believe that he was too good a doctor and too nice a person to waste his time as a surgeon with sleeping patients in an operating theatre. His great asset was his ability to relate to patients and to help them at a much deeper level than most doctors find possible. He built up a very successful practice in Kelvedon and his patients realised and appreciated his great ability.

George had a very confident, but slightly reserved, character. There was, however, a remarkable transformation when he sat down at a piano. He became extrovert and the true person came to the fore.

George has been greatly missed by patients and colleagues.'

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 310 1192].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England