William Gilson WenleyBMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7442.772-f (Published 25 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:772
William Gilson Wenley
Former consultant rheumatologist Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (b Chelmsford 1927; q Cambridge/the London Hospital 1951; DRCOG, Dip Phys Med, FRCP Ed), died on 5 May 2003 following a stroke.
After an early education at Felsted School, Gil went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he gained an MA in natural sciences before entering the London Hospital Medical College. During house appointments he obtained the DRCOG with the intention of entering general practice in rural Suffolk, and then joined the Royal Air Force for national service. Unfortunately he developed poliomyelitis, which left him partially paralysed. After transfer from Belfast to the RAF Rehabilitation Unit at Headley Court he made good progress, and in 1955 married Diana Cameron, an RAF nurse whom he had met at RAF Ely.
From his own experience of rehabilitation and encouragement from Will Tegner and Michael Mason at the London Hospital, he entered a career in rheumatology and rehabilitation. He was appointed as consultant in physical medicine to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 1964. With the help of his remedial colleagues he was able to plan one of the most modern departments in the country, which was part of one of the first recognised centres of excellence.
In addition to being a talented pianist, he was an ardent supporter of many musical events in East Anglia, singing as a tenor in the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus for many years. In spite of his locomotor problems, sailing was an abiding interest—small boats, tallships such as the Lord Nelson for the physically disabled, and schooners in warmer climates. He also found time to be the hon secretary of the Norwich Medico-Chirurgical Society and the East Anglian representative of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and became president of the section of rheumatology of the Royal Society of Medicine. Retiring from the NHS in 1991 he continued work for the benefits agency of the DSS.
A well attended thanksgiving service was held in the church of St Peter Mancroft in Norwich, at which tributes were given by his brother Paul, Dr Neil Cardoe, Dr Peter English, and Michael Nicholas, formerly organist and choirmaster of Norwich Cathedral, and reflected his full life and Christian convictions. His devoted wife, Diana, two sons, a daughter, and one granddaughter survive him. [N Alan Green, Neil Cardoe, David Scott]
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