Carys Margaret Bannister

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 20 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7238

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  1. Jaleel Miyan

Carys Margaret Bannister was born in Recife, Brazil, in 1935. She was the daughter of an engineer in the Great Western Brazilian Railway, the son of a vicar from Oswestry. He met Carys’s mother-to-be on a golf course in Wales being taught by his own brother. Carys’s elder sister was born in Aberystwyth and moved to Brazil with her parents when she was 2. The sisters were taught at home by their mother in Recife until the family moved to Sao Paulo, where they were taught by the wife of a Methodist minister. When the family again moved to Rio de Janeiro the girls attended an American graded school. On her father taking an appointment out in the Brazilian country, the sisters were shipped back to Surrey, England, to continue their education.

Carys attended a girls’ boarding school in Bramley, near Guildford, as a day girl. With extra lessons and hard work she successfully caught up with the other pupils and completed her O levels. Voicing a wish to become a doctor, she was told by her mother that was “not at all ladylike.” She kept to her ambition, moving to Guildford County Technical College to study the sciences. Although Carys was invited to interviews at a few medical schools in London, she was not offered a place. She maintained her ambition, and, on the advice of her head of science, she also studied for a state scholarship, which she won. With the scholarship in her hand she found herself more successful in her applications and finally took a place at Charing Cross Medical School. This was in 1953 and was quite an achievement for a woman let alone one with the somewhat fragmented educational background that Carys had.

She graduated with honours in surgery in 1958 and …

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