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Mary Margaret Anderson

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Lewisham University Hospital, London (b 1932; q Edinburgh 1956; FRCOG, CBE), died from complications of Parkinson’s disease on 17 February 2006.

Mary did most of her postgraduate training in London and was the first woman appointed to the post of senior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital. Despite her heavy clinical workload at Lewisham she found time to make major contributions to her chosen specialty and sat as a member or chaired many committees for her hospital, the Regional Health Authority, the Department of Health, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She was on the council of the Medical Defence Union and a member of the scientific committee of the National Birthday Trust. As an adviser to the chief medical officer she was an influential member of the committee on "Changing Childbirth" in this country, which sought to empower and involve women more closely in their choice of maternity care and delivery.

She was elected a vice president of her royal college in 1989, and during her three year tenure she travelled widely on its behalf, particularly to the Caribbean, Nepal, and Burma. This last country was difficult to enter, but she overcame all obstacles and was able to meet and reassure Burmese obstetricians that they were not alone and isolated. In 1996 she received the CBE for services to medicine.

Away from work she was an avid reader and keen gardener, loved music, and was a single figure golfer and a keen fisherwoman whenever possible. When her illness worsened she returned to her native Scotland to her house overlooking the Moray Firth and the market town of Forres, where she had been born and grew up. It was in this beautiful home that she was lovingly cared for until she died. [Alasdair Fraser, Anne Rodway]