Bill Abel

Michael Pollitt, obituaries editorA consultant psychiatrist, Bill Abel, who has died suddenly but peacefully aged 94 on Easter Saturday, was in practice in Norwich and Norfolk for about a quarter of a century.Michael Pollitt, obituaries editor

Consultant psychiatrist Bill Abel, who has died aged 94, was in practice in Norfolk for about a quarter of a century.

For many years he had the unique distinction of living with his wife Margaret and family in the house attached to the Bethel Hospital in Norwich, the second-oldest mental institution in England.

Although he worked mainly at Hellesdon Hospital, he held outpatient clinics at King's Lynn and other centres and offered sound advice to the prison service over many years.

William Jonathan Abel, who was born in Nottingham on July 9, 1915 and was known always as Bill, trained at Edinburgh Medical School, where he met his wife. After qualifying in 1939, Capt Abel served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in north Africa and Italy.

After the war he went into general practice for five years in Scotland; then a lectureship in social medicine in Edinburgh resulted in him training in psychiatry.

He moved to Norfolk in 1957

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when he was appointed consult-

ant psychiatrist at Hellesdon.

He was respected as a pastoral consultant, interested in others and always concerned about his coll-eagues, with whom he had strong rapport. He was a committed Christian, and his unshakeable faith was the driving force for all he did.

For the first 10 years after his retirement in 1979 he continued to work at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, in Norwich, where his support of those with cancer and their relatives was much appreciated.

Even when registered blind, he still travelled into the city to visit friends, and he visited the Norfolk & Norwich Institution for the Blind.

He derived great pleasure in his "dark years" from talking books.

Music was a great passion: when he could not play the piano he continued to listen to recordings of classical music, particularly of cathedral choirs.

A keen naturalist and birdwatcher, Bill was an authority on Norfolk and Suffolk churches; also, he was a talented musician.

He will be remembered fondly by the senior generation of the medical profession, former patients and clergy and in retirement for his work and support of patients. Above all, he was a family man who lived by example and encouraged his children to share his own Christian beliefs.

His wife, Margaret, who was a Samaritan and a marriage guidance counsellor, predeceased. He leaves children Alison, Elaine, Robert and Kate and 12 grandchildren. A daughter, Lesley, who was an artist, died in 2008.

He died on Saturday. The funeral will be held in Cardiff, to where he had moved to be near Elaine, a Nightingale nurse.

Michael Pollitt

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