Community stalwart led £750,000 campaign for a medical scanner

Dr Fred Wright

Dr Fred Wright

First published in News
Last updated

A CHAMPION of community fundraising and activist, doctor and lecturer has died, aged 87.

Dr Fred Wright was a radiologist at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, for more than 30 years.

He spearheaded a campaign backed by our sister paper the Oxford Star to raise £750,000 for a medical scanner and also brought improvements to the nuclear medicine department, which was later named the Wright Unit in his honour.

His efforts for the scanner prompted a letter from then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher offering her congratulations.

During retirement he took up a number of causes local to his village of Eynsham, including raising money for a hall and battling against gravel digging in the area.

Prime Minister and MP for Witney David Cameron was to later remark: “It is not possible to (discuss) gravel and Eynsham without a word of appreciation for Dr Fred Wright.”

Frederick Wright was born on February 3, 1927, in Birmingham, to parents Frances and Frederick.

He grew up in Erdington with siblings Anna, 85, and Philip, 84, and went to King Edward’s School, Birmingham.

He later attended Lincoln College, Oxford, to study medicine, acquiring his degree and qualifying as a doctor in 1950.

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Herald Series:

Fred with wife Lilian at their diamond wedding anniversary

On August 2, 1952 he married Lilian (nee Wynn), who was the daughter of his godfather.

The couple’s first child, Angela, was born in 1956, followed by Caroline in 1959 and John in 1962.

After initially living in Kidlington, the couple moved to Eynsham in 1963 where they were to remain.

He became a doctor at the Churchill Hospital and stayed in the radiology department, eventually becoming its head for two years before retiring in 1992.

During his career he also worked as a clinical lecturer for the University of Oxford, something he continued to do until the final months of his life.

And in many court cases, he appeared as an expert medical witness.

After becoming a member of Eynsham Parish Council in 1991, he went on to be its chairman in 1997 and 1998 and was also chairman of the village hall committee.

Herald Series:

Cutting the ribbon, centre, to open the path across the weir at Eynsham in 1998

He founded the Eynsham Society in 1972 as a response to the threat of expansion of the village. He was chairman for the last six years and its honorary president.

As well as being a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal College of Radiologists, he was president of the Oxford British Medical Association between 2005 and 2007 and a representative of the National British Medical Association in the 1970s and 1980s.

Dr Wright died peacefully on May 3 after a short illness.

He is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren, Lizzie, Clare, John, Alexandra, Louis and Sam.

A funeral will take place tomorrow at St Leonard’s Church, Eynsham, at 2pm. All who knew him are welcome, family flowers only.

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