Designatory Letters: 
MB Camb 1949, MD Camb 1956, MRCP Edin 1969, FRCP Lond 1972, FRCP Edin 1974

Dr Matthew Wilkinson was born and educated in Bishop Auckland but much of his schooling was at home because he suffered from osteomyelitis before there was a cure.   He went to Cambridge University at seventeen , developing a life-long love of the place and followed this with the clinical years at St Bartholomews. Medicine became his abiding passion.  After his house jobs he worked in Carshalton and then Hammersmith Hospitals before moving to San Francisco on a Fulbright Scholarship.  He returned to Hammersmith before working in Charing Cross and the Royal Northern Hospitals.

In 1963 he became consultant physician in Bridge of Earn Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary later transferring to Dundee Royal Infirmary and then Ninewells Hospital. Despite preferring general medicine, he set up and developed the specialist rheumatology service in Tayside and showed remarkable foresight in cautioning against the use of potent new anti-rheumatic drugs until their adverse effects were more fully appreciated.  He was very much an “old style” consultant, meticulous and forthright.  He also helped to staff the then fledgling coronary care unit at Ninewells and was chairman of the Division of Medicine during a period of huge change. GPs particularly appreciated his clear diagnoses and guidance on treatment.

Matt was an enthusiastic and much appreciated clinical teacher favouring a didactic approach and encouraging students to accompany patients to investigations such as barium enema so they would better appreciate patients’ viewpoints.

He had numerous, freely expressed medical pet hates, ripping the adverts out of journals, ruthlessly weeding out voluminous case notes and cautioning against ever expanding hospital car parks.  Administrative dictats likewise attracted his disdain.

Outside medicine, he was a generous host and keen to show his prowess as a performer of old popular songs on his baby grand piano, albeit to the accompaniment of a monotone, off-key whistle and foot stomping never in time with the music.  Matt was mechanically minded and good with his hands and would have a go at repairing almost anything.  He was an enthusiastic bird watcher and keen gardener but regularly vented his spleen on the whitefly invading his greenhouse and the grey squirrels attempting to colonise his garden.

After retirement he and his wife Barbara travelled widely in America, Europe and the Middle East, and leading to his family asking “and to  which war zone are you going this time?”

Matt first realised he had Parkinson’s disease when he fell coming up out of a cistern in Israel while on holiday. His balance was to become severely affected but he braved the illness, complicated by his fixed hip, failing knees and the decline of old age, with typical stoicism and Barbara’s unflagging support.

Matt is survived by Barbara, their children Claire, Andrew and Hilary and by grandson Paul.  His sister Stella and brother Donald predeceased him.