Fifty years since they graduated in 1966, over one hundred doctors and partners reconvened to revisit old haunts and reminisce about their student days in Edinburgh.
Thanks to excellent organisation, the class of 1966 have had many reunions but this was the big one. Five decades after graduation day, alumni travelled from all over the world to join in.
The class opted to make the most of the country air and stay in Peebles in the Borders, perfect for a round of golf on the Thursday afternoon when everyone arrived. The following morning it was all aboard the buses which transported the group to the Little France campus, the home of Edinburgh Medical School since the early 2000s.
Once refuelled with tea and coffee the group of eighty toured the Medical School and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and gained an insight into medical teaching and research fifty years on. Professor Neil Turner chatted about the current MBChB curriculum which prompted plenty of questions and comments. Professor Craig Ritchie and Dr Tara Spires Jones also presented an overview of the vital work they are carrying out in the area of dementia prevention.
We could scarcely believe that half a century had passed since our graduation in 1966, but there is great bond between us that transcends the passage of time. Many thanks must go to our excellent organisers for the sterling effort in organising our reunions to date.
The tour of Chancellor’s Building included a stop at the Clinical Skills Centre. The group saw where current medical students learn practical clinical skills and resuscitation in a simulated environment before transferring them into clinical practice. They met the resident Sim Man, an advanced patient simulator, and learnt about the part he plays in simulated emergency scenarios in which the students are often examined.
Next stop was lunch at the Playfair Library and a return to the familiar Old College. The class heard from Head of College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, Professor Sir John Savill before continuing to the Old Medical School, a much more familiar stomping ground. Anatomical Museum curator, Malcolm MacCallum introduced some of the collection’s highlights which include Burke’s skeleton and a lymphatic dissection.
It was like a walk down memory lane, as old escapades, teachers, and even long abandoned medical procedures were warmly (and sometimes ruefully) remembered.
Back in Peebles, the class thoroughly enjoyed a Saturday morning symposium during which several members of the year group spoke on diverse topics.
John Smith spoke about his experiences as a former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, whilst Chris Evans, the first female urologist in the UK – spoke about Llanarmon-yn-lal in Wales , the village she has lived in, and been involved in for many years.
Jonathan Noble, a retired orthopaedic surgeon who has recently written a book about the medical problems of several composers, spoke about Robert Schumann disputing the belief that he died of syphilis, whilst fellow alumnus Rod Manton, a retired GP, gave a hilarious talk about his recent medical experiences.
That evening over one hundred gathered for a banquet at the Peebles Hydro, a fitting finale to a wonderful weekend described by attendees as
the best ever and
absolutely wonderful from start to finish.
Although it was reluctantly decided this would be our last reunion in the time-honoured format of a weekend at Peebles, many of us will certainly keep in touch with each other and with the University, to whom we owe so much – memories of a great time during our medical school days, the launching pad to interesting careers, and friends (and often partners/spouses) that have lasted to this day.