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In Memoriam of Bill Hendry

I have the fondest memories of Bill Hendry, who sadly died, aged 73, last autumn. I first met him, and his wife Chirsty, on a urology section of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) ski trip, when I immediately fell for his infectious enthusiasm and energy. I remember hearing him delivering a brilliant lecture on the outcomes of radical cystectomy, an operation of which he was consummate performer.

I joined Bill and Hugh Whitfield as a consultant at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1986, where I saw first hand his skill as a surgeon and his unerring caring compassion towards his patients. I used to do Friday afternoon clinics with him at Bart’s: he focussed on infertility, while I ran an erectile dysfunction clinic. Bill used to joke that we should have a signpost: Penises this way, testicles the other!

I was honorary secretary when Bill was President of the RSM urology section. With typical energy he decided to depart from the ski meeting formula and instead led the group to Zimbabwe, an excellent meeting that finished memorably with a dinner in the Victoria Falls Hotel. A fabulous evening was had, significantly enhanced by the generous provision of specially imported South African Meerlust (sea breeze) wine.

I also had the privilege of being honorary secretary when Bill was president of the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS). We had so much fun together, planning and running the annual meetings, and we can claim the honour of founding the very successful BAUS Section of Oncology. I remember discussing the idea with Bill on a ski lift in Grindelwalt. He had the vision and drive to get it established.

Bill took rather early retirement and went to live on the Isle of Lewes, where took up breeding highland cattle and won a number of prizes. Unfortunately Chirsty died and only a few months later Bill suffered a heart attack and passed away. He will be remembered as a brilliant surgeon, teacher and communicator. I do hope some of those who trained under him will add their own special memories to this blog.


Roger Kirby
BJUI Associate Editor


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4 replies
  1. Culley Carson
    Culley Carson says:

    Bill Hendry was a star of urology both in the UK and the US. He was a major contributor scientifically and clinically but his real strength was in interpersonal skills. He was one of the first UK urologists that I came to klnow early in my academic carreer. He was always supportive, encouraging and helpful. His kindness and support to a young academician is something that I will always remember and cherish. I will sincerely miss him and his infectious smile and good words.

  2. Joseph Corriere
    Joseph Corriere says:

    At a meeting – I think – of the SIU, I was talking to Bill about the show “Cats” that was the big hit in London at the time and told him I was coming to London in a few weeks and wanted to get tickets. He took my address and told me he would get them for me and did! What a wonderful act by a wonderful man.

  3. Roger Plail
    Roger Plail says:

    As a rather “green” Senior Registrar at Fulham Road, Bill continued to be fantastically supportive of my career development, teaching me my way around the abdomen, retroperitoneum and pelvis and permitting me to undertake complex exenterative pelvic surgery as first surgeon alongside the Gyneacological SPR! His support extended to a keen interest in my own family’s development which was enduring. He insisted on cystectomies being nil by mouth for 10 days, sister and I hiding the “now recovered and normally eating” patient’s Mars Bars and biscuits from Bill on his 10th day post op round, politely nodding at Bill’s “all clear to eat now” instruction! Early ERAS I suppose! His cheery “Bye Sister” with a click of the heels, a slight deferential forward stoop and a raising of the hand is regularly re-enacted by many of his inspired acolytes! He always took a copy of the Times or the Evening Standard when sitting on interview panels, only lowering it to ask his question, professing a wish not to unnerve the candidate during the other questions! Thankyou Bill, you are sorely missed!

  4. Michael Jewett
    Michael Jewett says:

    Bill and I shared an interest in testicular cancer, he in the Royal Marsden and Bart’s in London, and I at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. My recollection was that we first met in London at a meeting organized by Michael Peckham in about 1980. I also met Tim Oliver of the London as well as Larry Einhorn and John Donohue from Indiana at that same meeting. These were heady days as we found our way with platinum based chemotherapy, markers, RPLND techniques and indications, active surveillance etc. Over the years I met Bill frequently at various meetings and on travels. The most memorable was staying with him at his home south of London. I was on a 2 week visiting professorship to 5 UK centres in 1991 that involved staying in the homes of the hosts and participating in the social and professional lives of my hosts. I have no idea how it was that the 5 sites were selected but by the time I arrived in London which was my last stop, I was pretty tired and craved some private time. I was primarily visiting Barts but also spent part of a day at the London Hospital with John Blandy (also recently deceased) and with Bill’s partners, Hugh Whitfield and Roger Kirby. I went to the Marsden OR in Fulham Road and dined at Eton in the boys refectary. The most notable part was driving into London with Bill at 5 am for him to make rounds before the day started. I went to his rooms on Harley Street to wait and had a nice nap on his examining table. The other thing was being toured around the countryside south of London by his wife Chirsty when all of sudden we came upon a small parish church which I recognized as the church that i was christened in when my parents lived in the UK at the end of the war. My fatigue was quickly forgotten and I enjoyed myself very much with Bill, his family and I had several subsequent trips to London alone and with my wife, Brenda, during which we usually had dinner with the Hendry’s. My mentor, Andy Bruce, who is still vigorous, wife Margaret was a cousin of Chirsty so I kept up on his activities after he moved to Scotland. My last communication was after C. died by email but he didn’t seem to be very communicative and I now understand he had a rough time without her so maybe a blessing that he passed so soon after.
    I will always remember my friend and our good times together on 4 continents and the various professional reports we gave together at many meetings. He was ever the gentleman, the easy companion and from my first hand experiences, a wonderful surgeon. London, the UK and the world of urology were enriched by his career and person.

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