Obituary: Dr Chris Cameron, Scottish general practitioner and musician

Christopher H Cameron, general practitioner. Born: 1940. Died: 27 September, 2020
Dr Chris Cameron dedicated his medical career to the Borders communityDr Chris Cameron dedicated his medical career to the Borders community
Dr Chris Cameron dedicated his medical career to the Borders community

Dr. Christopher Cameron, who was in General Medical Practice in Kelso, Borders Region, for many years, died on September 27th.

Although he came from a medical background (his father, Ernest Cameron, was a prominent Ophthalmologist in Edinburgh), his first forays were quite unrelated to what became his main life's work.

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While still in his teens, he was offered as a future legacy an 800-acre sheep farm in the heart of the Lammermuirs where his parents had a summer cottage, such was the enthusiasm and competence he displayed when down there on holiday. He turned the offer down and in due course entered the Arts Faculty of Edinburgh University to study languages. After a year of this however, he decided to follow his father and transferred to the Faculty of Medicine - an administratively easy step at that time, but leading to a fairly gruelling first year, as he had no basic science of note.

Dr Chris CameronDr Chris Cameron
Dr Chris Cameron

Once qualified and having done the several hospital residences required, he set about fulfilling his ambition of taking up a General Practice in the Scottish Borders and in due course became a Principal in practice in Kelso, a post he remained in for the rest of his working life.

A spell of ill-health, combined with a growing dismay at the way the Health Service was being reorganised - which he felt was affecting General Practice for the worse - led to his taking early retirement. However, far from slipping into inactivity, he enrolled at University again, taking Russian (and, at least initially, Gaelic), pursuing the former to degree level, having found a long-lost branch of his family in St Petersburg which provided an extra stimulus to his studies.

Not one to rest content with this, his next excursion was to combine several of the interests which were close to his heart by setting about a thesis on "Colloquial names for birds in South-East Scotland", thus giving expression to his profound interest in bird life, his lifelong attachment to that area and his love of people and of conversation. For this he was awarded an M.Sc. "Magna cum Laude".

He was a very competent violinist, but later moved over to the viola, with which he played not only informally in chamber groups with friends, but in the Borders Orchestra: in addition he spent some years around the turn of the century as a member of the European Doctors' Orchestra; in this role he played in many of the principal cities of the Continent. He maintained his musical activities until the progression of what became his final illness made it impossible to continue.

Beside and around him, underlining all these activities, however, was an overarching delight in the countryside, particularly the Border Hills, where much of his outdoor time was spent tramping the valleys and the high grounds, which he knew with an intimacy that reflected his love of the area - a love that he was only too keen to share with anyone who could keep up with him on his "walks" (ten to twenty miles over rough moor and gradient).

In an age of ever-narrower specialisation, Chris was a polymath: his many interests outside the world of Medicine doubtless enhanced the practice of his vocation as well as enriching the lives of those fortunate enough to have been touched by him: we are all the poorer for his loss, but immeasurably richer for having known him.

Chris is survived by Isobel, his wife of 52 years whom he met while a junior doctor in Taunton, their three children and four grandchildren.

Dr Ken Nesbitt

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