Past Event Reviews

27th February 2020

From Glamour to Gore

The Life of a TV Make-up Artist

Sharon Anniss

Sharon is a professional hair & make-up artist who covers all aspects of hair & make-up including for film, TV and photography.
20 years ago, Sharon followed a lifelong ambition to work in TV & film, deciding to train as a professional make-up artist. She now has a successful career in that industry.
In 2015 and 2016 Sharon worked for the BBC on its drama series "The Coroner" which was filmed all around the South Hams area.
Sharon's talk gives a first-hand account of life on the set of some of your favourite TV shows and films.

23rd January 2020

Napoleon on St Helena

Kit Power

Kit Power spent his working career in an international consultancy and top level recruitment company. He has a keen interest in both history and sailing - particularly to the more out-of-the-way places.
A visit to St Helena in 2017 sparked his interest in the details of what happened on the island during the six years of Napoleon's exile there.
There has been a long running debate over the cause of Napoleon's death, usually involving the traces of arsenic found in surviving samples of his hair, but almost certainly this is a red herring.
Read on to find out what really happened...!

17th October 2019

From Trafalgar to the Falklands
A History of International Hospital Ships

Nicci Pugh

After training as a nurse in Exeter and St George’s, Nicci joined the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service and was selected to serve on board HM Hospital Ship Uganda as a Senior Nursing Officer during the Falklands War.

Following her experiences Nicci now works as a voluntary ambassador for The South Atlantic Medal Association (

In her talk, Nicci explored the history and use of hospital ships to aid casualties of major conflicts including the Napoleonic, Crimean and the Falklands Wars.

25th April 2019

Nelson's Doctors

Ian Fraser

In 1794 Captain Horatio Nelson writing to his friend, The Duke of Clarence, declared “One plan I pursue, never to employ a Doctor…” but there are at least 48 references to him seeking medical help apart from the numerous informal chats concerning his ailments aboard ship.
Ian's talk reviewed the medical involvement in four of Nelson's mishaps
  • his blind eye,
  • the amputated arm,
  • a head injury
  • his death at Trafalgar
Ian also presented some aspects of Nelson’s judgement and management skills in action.
In 1801, whilst moored in Torbay before the Battle of Copenhagen, he received the news which ultimately leads us to another naval surgeon hitherto largely ignored in the Nelson story.
After qualifying at Barts in 1969, Ian Fraser abandoned an early career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology to take refuge in general surgery where he specialised in Colo-proctology as a consultant in Warwick.
In the summer he aims to be a fair-weather sailor but during the winter months gets embroiled in exploring Naval history, especially that of Admiral Nelson and his contemporaries.

28th March 2019

Death, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll

Dr John Broomhall

“Things they do look awful cold, I hope I die before I get old” – The Who – “My Generation”
“Die young – Stay pretty” – Blondie
“A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age” – Meatloaf – “Everything Louder than Everything Else”
Do rock stars die young? If so -Why? Does what they do influence their audience? This talk explores some of the bizarre links between rock’n’roll and death, with appropriate musical soundbites.
Dr John Broomhall did his medical training (and met his wife-to-be) at The London Hospital - before it became Royal.
He became a Paediatric Consultant in Torbay and Exeter in July 1985. (The same month as Live Aid).
He says he created this talk after realising he knew no more than the average doctor about anything other than rock music - and that most of his favourite rock stars were dead!

28th February 2019

Doctor at Sea

Dr Ed Southall MB, BS, FRCP

Dr. Ed Southall qualified in 1975 at St George’s Hospital, London, and was a GP in Paignton from 1981 to 2008.
He is a keen sailor and has covered about 60,000 miles at sea.
Ed was a participant in the first “Clipper Round the World Race” in 1996 and completed a circumnavigation as part of the World Arc Rally in 2008/2009.
He later ventured into the Southern Ocean, in 2013, and sailed from Cape Town to Western Australia via the Southern Ocean.
He has also built a boat himself - from wood - (a 16ft Shearwater sailing/rowing boat).
The talk will be about his maritime adventures - mostly sailing stories - with a few references to medicine along the way.

24th January 2019

Sex was not invented in the 1960s

Dr Peter Moore

Is there any celebrity from the 1960s not being investigated for some dodgy sexual behaviour? According to the popular press the situation is getting worse. Does today’s western world make Sodom and Gomorrah look like cbeebies?

Peter Moore was a GP and forensic medical examiner for thirty years and for ten years the clinical consultant to Devon and Cornwall Police. He has researched the long and controversial history of the law surrounding dubious sexual practices and discovered that over the centuries the laws, verdicts and rulings varied from the unbelievable to the bizarre. Despite today’s Harvey Weinstein and #metoo the past was not always a golden era.

22nd November 2018

Snow, Ice, Boats and ... Penguins!

Dr Fraser Gould

Fraser departed the UK towards the end of 2016, working as a Medical Officer for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). This involved a 13-month position at King Edward Point Research Station, situated on the remote overseas territory of South Georgia. During the austral summer there were 35 personnel working on the island, but over the winter this number dropped down to just 10, whom together were tasked with providing continuous science and fisheries support to the South Georgia Government.
Following this post he joined the Royal Research Ship Ernest Shackleton for a six-month voyage along the Antarctic coastline, with an itinerary designed to provide logistical support to the BAS research stations in the polar region.
But what exactly does a doctor do, having only to look after a small and healthy patient population? This talk aims to provide some answers to this very reasonable question, and touch upon some of the highlights and challenges encountered whilst living in a small island community. Expect snow, ice, boats and plenty of wildlife to feature.

18th October 2018

Spirits, Spices and Sharp Teeth

The Surgical Management of Head and Neck Cancer

Mr David Courtney

David Courtney has been a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon for 17 years at Derriford Hospital. He has wide surgical experience in head and neck surgery in general, with particular expertise in head and neck oncology with microvascular reconstruction.

He has a particular interest in the management of facial deformity and trauma.

David is Service Line Director of Maxillofacial Surgery and Lead Clinician for Head and Neck Surgery.

He is a FRCS Intercollegiate examiner and AOUK European Faculty member.

19th April 2018

Watercress, Nappies and GP Trainees

Dr Kyle Stewart

Dr Kyle James Stewart is currently a GP registrar at Corner Place Surgery in Paignton, Devon.

Following a Medical Sciences degree at the University of Birmingham Medical School, Dr Stewart went on to graduate in Medicine on the MBChB course in 2010.

He subsequently came to Torquay and never left!

After a two year academic Foundation Training scheme he spent 3 years in mixed medical specialties, before joining the GP training scheme in 2015.

Alongside clinical work, Kyle has established himself as a clinical researcher, innovator and entrepreneur.

His current research with the Watercress Company in Dorset, funded kindly by Torbay Medical Research Fund, will yield novel therapeutic and diagnostic opportunities for front line primary and secondary care clinicians.

In 2017, Kyle was the inaugural winner of the annual T&DMS Research Paper Award.

22 March 2018

Midwives task-sharing in providing advanced obstetric care in hospitals in rural Liberia

David Southall (UK and Liberia) MBBS, MD, FRCPCH, OBE Professor of Paediatrics and Honorary Medical Director MCAI

David founded the charity Maternal and Childhealth Advocacy International (MCAI) in 1995 and currently is directing a task-sharing programme in Liberia aimed at the training of midwives in advanced obstetrics (including abdominal surgery) and both nurses and midwives in advanced neonatal care.

David’s main interests include medical education, approaches to
healthcare based on human rights, sustained improvements in the
emergency hospital care of pregnant women and adolescent girls, babies and children in disadvantaged countries, preventing the life-threatening abuse of children, and advocacy against armed conflict and the arms trade and its effects on mothers and children.

Joint meeting with Devon and Somerset Law Society

22nd February 2018

Full Circle

Richard Leaman CB OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Tall Ships Youth Trust

The trust literally changes lives by taking disadvantaged and disabled young people to sea under sail, transforming their teamworking skills, self- confidence, independence and life chances.

As a Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy he was awarded the OBE in 1994 for disaster relief services in Eleuthera after Hurricane Andrew and was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2009 for creating NATO's first ever Maritime Security Strategy.

Richard has two grown up sons and lives with his wife, Jacqui, in Ascot. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, music of all forms, any live perfomance, and fly fishing. When allowed, he plays the guitar badly.

18th January 2018

White Ship – Red Crosses: A British Hospital Ship at War

Nicci Pugh

After training as a nurse in Exeter and St George’s, Nicci joined the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service and was selected to serve on board HM Hospital Ship Uganda as a Senior Nursing Officer during the Falklands War. The book “White Ship – Red Crosses” tells the story of that extraordinary mission.

She led one of three surgical teams in the makeshift operating theatre on board the ship. Her talk includes many unseen images of the achievements, difficulties and setbacks ecounterd by patients and medical personnel.

Following her experiences Nicci now works as a voluntary ambassador for The South Atlantic Medal Association ( All profits from her book, “White Ship – Red Crosses”, are donated to the charity.

Sponsored by the Medical Staff Committee

19th October 2017

Dr Finlay meets Mr Herriot

Dr Paul Watkins MA, PhD, MRCVS

Although the medical and veterinary professions are separate, they share the common purpose of treating disease and alleviating suffering in their patients, whatever their number of legs. The history of the two professions reveals many areas of common ground and understanding. Interactions over 250 years have led to many mutually beneficial developments.

Paul Watkins varied career since qualifying at Cambridge in 1981 has included general veterinary practice, universities and research establishments, and working with surgeons which has led to his research being adopted in clinical practice, both medical and veterinary.

In recent years he has been exploring the historical links between the medical and veterinary professions. He has been a Member of the Court of Examiners of the Royal College of Surgeons of England since 1998.

A Joint Meeting with Western Counties Veterinary Association, Sponsored by: Torbay Hospital League of Friends