The Probus Club of St Annes-on-the-Sea

Dr Peter Shadwick
1928 - 19 August 2010

Doctor Peter Shadwick died on Thursday 19th August 2010, in Victoria Hospital, Blackpool. He had had what was described as "a massive heart attack" last week since when he had been given little hope of recovery.

Peter joined Probus in 2000 and had been to almost every meeting since, usually sitting near the middle of the audience. At least once a year he had been our chairman of the day, most recently on October 22nd 2009 when he introduced Dr. Vasudev for his talk on the role of the pathologist.

Peter was born in Vienna in 1928 and so was 82. He qualified as a doctor and was for years the chief medical officer at the government offices at Norcross. He was married to Donna for forty years and leaves a son Mark and daughter Carol, who both live in the Unites States, and two step children Andrea and Richard.

Peter was of the Jewish faith and his burial and funeral service were on Friday 20th August 2010.  He lived at Hilton Court on South Promenade in St Annes.

Geoff Hayman

Peter wrote his own obituary.  These are Peter's actual words, written a few years before when ill-health led him to think he might not have long to live.

Peter Shadwick - Obituary

Peter had only one professional career in his life - medicine - and so caring for people of all types in their time of need. But this career had many facets; after qualifying in medicine he became a house surgeon in Obstetrics and then joined the Army as a National Serviceman being posted to Germany.  There, in a Field ambulance, he was given many non-medical tasks, where he learned administrative skills which he put to good use throughout his life.  Most unusually for a National Service officer, he rose to the rank of Major in the RAMC in the second year of service.

On his return to civilian life he chose to become a general practitioner and practised, very successfully, in Gateshead for some 25 years.  Not content with just one branch of medicine, he also worked part-time in Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy in Newcastle, became Admiralty Surgeon and Agent in Gateshead, hotel doctor to the local Rank hotel and medical referee for the DHSS.  He also served as chairman of the Gateshead Division of the BMA as well as being a long-term member of several local committees.  Then, in 1979, he found general practice had changed so much that he decided that a change was needed and successfully applied to join the Department of Social Security.  This resulted in a move to the Fylde, ostensibly for just six months.  In the event, the attractions of the area resulted in making a permanent home there.

Again his career flourished and his medical experience and knowledge together with his compassion for disabled people brought promotion to Senior Medical Officer.  In that position, he was often consulted on the medical aspects of policy decisions regarding legislation.  In that capacity, he would attend Ministers of State in the Houses of Parliament when required.

Whatever facets of his career he tackled, he would put his full efforts into the task in hand and so made a success in every field.  He had an open mind at all times with a tolerance to all and a complete lack of prejudice in respect of status, colour or creed - together with a good sense of humour.  He was always liked and respected by his patients, friends and peers who knew him to be fair and honest in all dealings.

Peter was born in Vienna, Austria in 1928, an only child who was much loved and cosseted by his parents and grandparents.  Then his childhood was suddenly ended by the entrance of Hitler into Austria in March 1938.  His family endeavoured to emigrate but were only able to obtain an entry visa to Shanghai, China.  Then, out of the blue, a letter arrived from England allowing Peter's father, who was a qualified doctor and dental surgeon, to come to this country with his family.  Only 50 such offers were made to German and Austrian dentists.  Thus Peter arrived in England with his father and mother in Spring 1939 - none of them being able to speak any word of English.  They settled in Newcastle-on-Tyne having to live in very poor circumstances on a small weekly loan from the Association of Jewish Refugees.  The Dean of Dentistry in Newcastle entered Peter into the Newcastle Royal Grammar School and paid for his education there until his father was able to take on this responsibility.

At the outbreak of war in September 1939, Peter was evacuated with the school to Penrith, Cumberland whilst his father was interned in the Isle of Man and his mother forced to move to Leeds.  Peter was billeted with the local hairdresser who spoke no German and Peter no English.  Despite all these vicissitudes, or perhaps because of them, he applied himself diligently to his school work so that he became proficient in English within a year - and proudly remained with this expertise for the rest of his life.  Throughout his school career, he never failed an examination, passing many with distinction.  He continued the family tradition by entering the medical profession - his father, his mother's father and grandfather all having been doctors.  Peter qualified in Kings College, Durham University in 1951, with several distinctions.

Apart from his medical career, he greatly enjoyed music all his life.  In his youth he played tennis to a fairly high standard and then golf became a major part of his life.  He was very keen on photography and later became very keen and knowledgeable in computer matters.  He and his wife Donna enjoyed world-wide travel until his health curtailed their horizons.

Peter was always proud of his Jewish heritage and had read seriously in the subject.  Whilst, in fact, deeply religious, he could not embrace the trappings of orthodox observance.  His Bar Mitzvah portion ended with these words: "He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord does require of you. Only to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God " and he felt he lived by that concept.

He and his beloved wife Donna spent many years of very close and happy times, sharing many interests such as music and bridge and being rarely, if ever, parted.  Their marriage was an ideal partnership and they had made many friends who shared in their obvious deep love.

Peter is survived by his devoted wife Donna, his son Mark and daughter Carol being children from his first marriage and also by his two stepchildren Andrea and Richard whom he considered to be on a par with his own children and all the several grandchildren.