A WORLD-renowned neurosurgeon, historian and author, David Uttley, who lived near Kirkland, has died aged 76.
Dr. Uttley, of Burrell Hill, was internationally successful in his work as a neurosurgeon and helped to pioneer a groundbreaking operation to remove brain stem tumours.
Originally from Halifax, in Yorkshire, Dr. Uttley was an only child and both his parents worked in a mill. He was educated at Sowerby Bridge Grammar School before attending Leeds University, where he read medicine.
Following medical school he spent two years with the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Cyprus and North Africa in the 1950s.
On his return to the UK, Dr. Uttley gained his fellowship from the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. He was encouraged to enter the field of neurosurgery and began work as a senior registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.
Following the retirement of Sir Wylie McKissock, Dr. Uttley was appointed consultant at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, Wimbledon, part of the St. George Hospital Group.
He continued in his role as neurosurgeon until his retirement in April, 1994. During his career he travelled all over the world operating on people and, with surgeon Daniel Archer, discovered a new way to operate on brain stem tumours which had not been done before and had a high success rate.
It was during his time in London that Dr. Uttley met his wife, Estelle, who was working as an insurance broker in the City. The couple met in 1972 at a dinner party and subsequently married.
In 1981 they bought their home at Burrell Hill, between Skirwith and Kirkland. The couple had friends in the area and had fallen in love with Eden during their visits. The house was used as a holiday home until they retired and moved up to Cumbria in 1994 and extended their home.
A year after Dr. Uttley retired he decided to take a degree in his favourite subject, history, and gained an MA in local history in a three-year course at Lancaster University.
Along with his studies Dr. Uttley was also very interested in the local phenomena, the Helm Wind. He wrote a book, The Anatomy of the Helm Wind, which was published in 1998, and gave lectures on the subject to groups all over Cumbria and the North East. His work also featured in a recent BBC program, Wild Weather Across Northern Skies.
Despite being busy with his studies, Dr. Uttley became an active member in the community and was a member of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society and the Friends of Penrith Museum. He was also a keen fisherman and was a member of the Yorkshire Fly Fishers Club and Penrith Angling Association. Both he and Mrs. Uttley were members of the Wine Appreciation Society of Penrith.
Other hobbies included a love of classical music and walking with his dog Josh. Dr. Uttley was an excellent cook, with his puddings renowned in the area. “He had a marvellous sense of humour and fun. He was a very warm and loving person and will be missed by a huge circle of friends,” said Mrs. Uttley.
A thanksgiving service for his life was conducted by Canon Richard Moatt at St. Lawrence’s Church, Kirkland. At the service Dr. Uttley’s protege, Dr. Anne Moore, one of only two female brain surgeons in the country, gave a very moving address.