John Talbot: Consultant, priest and medical director of Norwich hospice

A pioneer of the hospice movement and a Norfolk priest, Dr John Talbot, who has died aged 88, was medical director of Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich.

In his eight-year tenure, the consultant bacteriologist turned curate helped to lead a �400,000 appeal to extend facilities for patients with terminal illness at the hospice, which is part of the Colman Hospital.

In 1985, he urged EDP readers to support the appeal to provide a new day care centre to offer 15 places daily and a teaching centre both for patients and their carers. 'It is for the people of Norfolk. Without their money, it will not be built. It is a Norfolk thing for Norfolk people,' he added.

With the support of the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, the extension was opened in 1987.

He became an ordained priest in 1979 and moved to Norfolk a year later to become medical director at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, where he continued to pursue his joint interest in medicine and Christianity, organising lectures for clergy and doctors combined.


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John Michael Talbot, who was born on September 15, 1923 in Thames Ditton, studied medicine and completed training at King's College Hospital, in south London.

After two years as an RAF medic in Singapore, he had returned to London at the end of the second world war to study bacteriology at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He became a consultant bacteriologist at Kingston General Hospital.

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Later in his career, and influenced by his strong Christian faith, he had become increasingly interested in palliative medicine and care of the terminally ill. He volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice, Penge, the world's first purpose-built palliative care centre, where Dame Cecily Saunders, a founder of the hospice movement, was medical director.

A member of the Christian Medical Fellowship, he was involved in promoting medical missionary work, serving on the council of Interserve and the selection committee of the Church Missionary Society.

Married in 1954 to Rosalyn Carrick, he later became a lay reader at the Emmanuel Church in Croydon, conducting chaplaincy work in local hospitals.

The family home, complete with succession of cats, was frequently overflowing with missionaries who slept in any available bed on their brief return visits to the UK.

Dr Talbot, who retired in 1988, never lost his interest in medicine and retired from ministry at St Remigius in 1996.

A keen sailor, they kept a boat on the Norfolk Broads for several years in their retirement.

He is survived by his wife, Rosalyn, three children Mike, Libby and Margie, seven grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and a great grandson.

A funeral will be held at St Remigius Church, Hethersett, on Monday, December 12 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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