Charles Kickham Heffernan

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 09 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b469
  1. Seamus Heffernan

    Charles K Heffernan was born in County Kilkenny, the youngest child of two girls and four boys, of Patrick and Josephine Heffernan. His father was medical officer of health for the County of Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland.

    Charles qualified as a medical practitioner at Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, in 1946. He became light heavyweight boxing champion for the British Army while stationed at Colchester in the Royal Army Medical Corps, 1946-8. He served residencies at Meath Hospital, Dublin, and Lincoln County Hospital before becoming senior house officer in pathology at North Manchester General Hospital (Crumpsall) in 1951.

    In 1953 he moved to Preston Royal Infirmary as registrar, then to Manchester Royal Infirmary as senior registrar in pathology, where he met and married Joy Nichols, who was a staff nurse. In 1956 they moved to Blackburn (Hollies Road, Wilpshire) when he became consultant pathologist at Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

    After the arrival of a son, Seamus, and a daughter, Janeann, the family moved to Balderstone in the Ribble Valley, where Kevin was born in 1961, and where Charles was able to devote more time to his love of gardening.

    In 1987, aged 65, he retired from his post at Blackburn Royal Infirmary but accepted a series of locums taking him to Sydney, Nova Scotia; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Arrow Park Hospital, Wirral; Oldham General Hospital; and, finally, Preston Royal Infirmary. He finally retired from the medical profession at the age of 71.

    As clinical tutor at Blackburn, 1978-82, he led a fundraising campaign to build and equip a postgraduate education centre at the hospital. He served as president of the section of pathology of Manchester Medical Society during 1985-96, and was one of the founder members of the Blackburn Borough Rotary Club and its president for a year.

    He is survived by his sister Hilda; wife, Joy; sons, Seamus and Kevin; daughter Janeann; and grandchildren, Sameera, Shareef, and Sofia.

    A memorial service was held at St Leonard’s Church, Balderstone, on 16 January 2009.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b469


    • Former consultant pathologist Blackburn Royal Infirmary, Blackburn (b 1 October 1922; q Dublin 1946; FRCPath 1968), died from cancer of the larynx on 6 January 2009.

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