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Lord Walton of Detchant

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 03 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2491
  1. Thomas Macaulay,
  2. David Payne
  1. London
  1. dpayne{at}

Neurologist and crossbench peer who founded Muscular Dystrophy UK

Hansard’s last reference to the crossbench peer Lord Walton of Detchant was his contribution to a Lords debate on motability on Monday 7 March 2016.1 That morning the retired neurologist would, as usual, have caught the 6 30 am London train from Berwick-upon-Tweed, staying at either the Athenaeum or the Royal Society of Medicine (Walton was president of the RSM from 1984 to 1986).

Four days later the 93 year old collapsed while still at the House of Lords and was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital across the Thames. A private ambulance organised by his eldest daughter, Ann McNeil, subsequently drove him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), where, she says, he spent two weeks giving bedside lectures to “budding neurologists” before being allowed home. He died from a stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme on 21 April.

John Nicholas Walton, with his grasp of detail and “colossal memory,” would doubtless have relished such circumstantial detail, a point noted in a 1993 review of his Pooterish autobiography The Spice of Life: From Northumbria to World Neurology.2The BMJ’s reviewer, Ruth Holland, also …

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