Nancy Rushton Brueton

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 26 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5162
  1. Richard Brueton, Martin Brueton, Helen Austin

Nancy Rushton was born in 1919 in Wood Green, north London, and lived there until 1930, when her father, Oswald Rushton Baldwin, became headmaster of St George’s Grammar School in Bristol. The family moved to Bristol, where Nancy spent most of her life. She went to Redland High School, where she became head girl. She then went to Bristol University to study medicine, qualifying MB ChB in 1942, and gaining a distinction in Surgery.

Two weeks later, she married Neville Brueton, who had also studied medicine at Bristol University. He was a medical officer in the Royal Air Force and served in Aden. After the war, Neville became a consultant haematologist in the blood transfusion service in Bristol.

Nancy initially worked as a general practitioner in Bristol, and, while bringing up their three children, she undertook occasional GP locums.

In 1952 Nancy embarked on her own career, becoming one of the first medical officers with Marks and Spencer in Bristol. This was quite an innovative role. She looked after a mostly female workforce and was able to initiate preventative health measures, such as cervical smear tests. She stayed with Marks and Spencer for 29 years, where she was greatly respected. Her long service gold watch was one of her most treasured possessions, which she wore right up until the last days of her life.

Nancy and Neville devoted their lives to their children and created an outstandingly loving and stable home for them. She was always there to be supportive. She was firm yet understanding, tolerant and wise. She enjoyed tennis, camping holidays, and bowls.

When Neville died in 1981, Nancy moved to Dorchester, where she was able to help with her daughter Helen’s three children. She became involved in the Joseph Weld Hospice and was a volunteer and trainer for the Macmillan Hospice Nurses’ home visiting programme.

In recent years, her health failed, her vision deteriorated with the onset of macular degeneration, and she was registered blind. Her immobility was a trial but she maintained her Christian faith, her sense of humour, and her interest in family and friends. She was ever resilient and will be forever missed.

Nancy died peacefully at Steepleton Manor, Dorset at the age of 94. She leaves three children: Martin, Richard, and Helen, (retired paediatrician, orthopaedic surgeon and health visitor); six grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5162


  • Former medical officer Marks and Spencer (b 1919; q Bristol 1942), d 30 August 2013.

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