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The doctor whose work lives on

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As a consultant paediatrician the late Dr Malcolm Arthurton dedicated his working life to helping sick babies and children. He supported Action Medical Research for many years, and left a generous legacy in his will. On National Doctors Day we’re proud to honour this remarkable man.

Dr Malcolm Arthurton worked as a consultant paediatrician in Yorkshire from the early 1950s until he retired in the 1980s. At one point he was the only consultant paediatrician in his area, serving four different hospitals!

He began practising medicine in a very different era – a time when the mainstream use of antibiotics was still very new. And one of his own early achievements, of which he was very proud, was successfully arguing the case for establishing the first special care baby unit at one of his hospitals.

Image of the late Dr Arthurton

Dr Arthurton truly understood the importance of medical research.

“He very much appreciated and understood the need for research,” says his daughter Amanda. “During his working life he saw some wonderful advances such as vaccinations for mothers who are rhesus negative. When my sister Isabel and I were small he used to get up in the middle of the night and go back to the hospital to do exchange blood transfusions on babies who had been affected by this – probably about once a week. It was a very common occurrence. Now this risk has been almost completely eliminated.”

Malcolm’s wife, Eve, was the first in the family to support Action Medical Research. She was an active fundraiser for the charity, organising social events, and for many years chaired a fundraising committee.

But the connection with Action was, of course, a natural one for Malcolm. “He was a very dedicated doctor and clearly had an interest in the charity because of his own work,” says Amanda.

Exceptionally dedicated, he continued actively fundraising into his nineties.

For more than 40 years Malcolm collected newspapers and scrap metal to raise funds for Action – something he started while still working as a busy hospital doctor and continued into his early nineties! Over those decades he collected 722kg of brass, 975kg of aluminium and 756kg of aluminium drinks cans. He raised at least £5,000 through recycling materials which would have otherwise gone to waste.

Malcolm died in 2016, aged 97, but his support for Action has continued through a wonderful gift of £10,000 left in his will. Such a generous gift will help to fund a significant part of one of our research projects – it costs around £230 to fund a single day’s research. Malcolm’s legacy could now be helping to unlock a medical breakthrough of the future – we truly hope so.

Amanda says: “Many, many people support charities but a much smaller number make provision to do so in their wills. My sister and I are deeply pleased and proud to think that his forethought has funded research after his death. It is a wonderful way of leaving a lasting legacy.”

For information about gifts in wills please contact Sharon Gearing at Action Medical Research on 01403 327413 or email sgearing@action.org.uk

The legacy he left means that his work to help sick babies and children lives on.

Newborn baby in special care baby unit