The doctor who continues to make a difference | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - September 2017

The doctor who continues to make a difference

As a consultant paediatrician Dr Malcolm Arthurton dedicated his working life to helping sick babies and children. He and his late wife Eve were also keen supporters of Action Medical Research and now his legacy lives on through a generous gift left to us in his will.

Dr Malcolm Arthurton worked as a consultant paediatrician in Yorkshire from the early 1950s until he retired in the 1980s and at one point 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.

“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.”

It was actually Malcolm’s wife, Eve, who was the first in the family to support Action. She was a very active fundraiser for the charity, organising social events, and for many years was chair of our fundraising committee for the Shipley and Baildon area.

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 – he must have seen a lot of children who had very serious problems,” says Amanda.

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.

“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,” says Amanda.

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

You can also read more about gifts in wills here

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