Edward Young – BaA 47-55
Submitted by Beverley Charles Rowe
Edward Young, always called ‘Eddie’, was born in Reading in the September 1936, the year of three kings. His father Ted was a seedsman at Sutton Seeds, eventually a foreman. His mother, Winifred Thorpe, worked at the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory.
Winifred was ambitious for her son and gently pushed him, first as a dayboy at Reading School and then to a full scholarship at Christ’s Hospital in Horsham.
At Christ’s Hospital Eddie had the honour of becoming the school’s drum major, leading the band and the school through the City of London, twirling his mace and tossing it high in the air with apparent nonchalance. Supplying the drum major was at that time a Barnes A tradition.
From CH he went to Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London. As a young houseman he worked at the old Pembury County Hospital (now merged into Tunbridge Wells Hospital). One of the first nurses he met there was Sally Chapman. Two years later they were married in Detling church.
In their first six years of marriage they lived in six different homes as Eddie worked his way up the promotion ladder, moving from hospital to hospital. He was on call at Christmas for all those years. He ended up in Reading, at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH), in 1970, where he was appointed consultant anaesthetist, and they moved to Beech Lane in Earley in 1972.
They had four children, (Sir) Edward, Hazel, Alison and Tim.
He was forty-five and remained there for the rest of his career, respected as both a doctor and a member of the local and church community.
Eddie was a keen runner. He took part in the first-ever London Marathon in 1981, and over the next 25 years he ran in many races.
His other great love was crosswords and he excelled at the Azed puzzle in The Observer. (Azad’s predecessor, Ximenes, was a classics teacher at CH.) The challenge was not just to solve the devilishly complex clues but to submit a clue of one’s own to the monthly prize competition. He first won the cherished Azed prize in December 1981. His self-referential, winning clue,
ROUGH AND READY: “A hard tussle with Dr E Young plainly winning”
is rightly considered by aficionados to be one of the all-time classics.
His crossword prowess came from a lifelong love of words, finding clever ways of writing succinctly and humorously. Many of his letters appeared in The Times, often getting printed in the coveted bottom-right-hand corner of the page, which is customarily reserved for short, pithy letters.
The warmth and comradeship of Eddie’s colleagues at the RBH gave him great succour and many colleagues became close personal friends.
After twenty-six years at RBH Eddie retired in 1996. He told The Reading Chronicle “I will miss it terribly, especially all the people I have worked with in theatre and the intensive care unit. But I won’t miss the pressure and the getting up in the middle of the night.”
The freedom of retirement allowed him and Sally to spend more time together, including ambitious waterway treks planned with great precision. The family clan expanded to include five much-loved grandchildren. It was a great loss to Eddie when Sally died, far too young, in 2013.
With typical modesty he thought that with Sally’s departure the old allure of Beech Lane to the extended family would be diminished. Far from it. The gatherings and jollities at Beech Lane continued right up to a month or so before his death.