Dr Clive Thompson, one of the most delightful persons to know, was born in Twickenham, London, on 7 August 1933. He grew up there with his three brothers until 1940, when, as a 7-year-old, he was one of thousands of London children evacuated to a safe country area. After the Blitz he returned home only to be evacuated a second time in 1944, when the rockets started to fall on London. The evacuation periods away from his family had a profound impact on him.
In 1945 he started his secondary school education at Thames Valley School in Twickenham. He was a good all-round student and excelled at sport, in particular field hockey, track and field, and tennis. Commenting on his doubles tennis play, one of his friends said that so good was he at the net that the ball had to be lobbed high over him.
It was at school where he met Joy, also an outstanding athlete. They were married in 1958 and had three children—Karen, Graham, and Paul—and, later, seven grandchildren. Clive and Joy had 52 years of very happy family life together.
In 1954 he entered the Royal Free School of Medicine in London, qualifying in 1957. After his pre-registration year he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps for 4 years and, in 1960, was posted to Singapore and Malaysia, accompanied by Joy and Karen.
On his return to England he did 6 months of obstetrics before entering general practice in Welwyn Garden City, 40 kilometres north of London. It was there that he met Drs Wendy and Terry Fidgeon, who were to become lifelong friends. In the early 1960s National Health Service family practice was in turmoil. The British government refused to address family practice concerns and even denied a 14% increase that they had been awarded in arbitration.
Clive became a member of a British Medical Association committee attempting, unsuccessfully, to reach a compromise with government. The government’s attitude drove family doctors to emigrate by the hundreds. In March 1966 he left the practice in Welwyn and with Joy and the children moved to Red Deer, Alberta, and into general practice in Canada.
He also took his interest in medical politics to Alberta with him and sat on the Red Deer Hospital executive, eventually becoming its president, and on the Alberta Medical Association Section of General Practice Committee.
Eight years later he moved to Surrey, BC, to join Dr Terry Fidgeon and his partners in practice; later he set up on his own. He quickly built a full practice, due in no small measure to his great empathy and genuine concern for his patients. In 1979 he was elected to the BCMA Board of Directors, a post he held for 4 years.
In 1985 he became a medical advisor for the Workers’ Compensation Board, monitoring the standard of care being received by ill or injured workers. In 1988 his known concern for his colleagues led to his appointment as assistant executive director of the British Columbia Medical Association. It was an important and responsible appointment and his colleagues could not have granted him a greater honor. Clive Thompson’s professional life was devoted to his patients and colleagues.
In 1993 Clive retired from professional life. He and Joy spent their retirement enjoying being with Karen, Graham, Paul, and their children as they grew up. Clive was a very keen and knowledgeable gardener as those who have seen the garden will attest. For the rest of the time golf and tennis kept him fit until 1 November, when he entered Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Clive was a joy to know. He was a kind and thoughtful person and always there to help. I am glad to have known him over the years. Like all his other friends I will miss him.
—John O’Brien-Bell, MBBS
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