General News

Class of ’74, 45th Reunion Report

The 45th Reunion of the class of 1974 took place on Thursday 7th November at the River Station restaurant in Bristol. Twenty of us ( plus nine other halves) gathered for a highly enjoyable lunch. It was much appreciated that some had travelled long distances to be there, even as far away as Australia – a long way to come for a lunch!

We began by an update of the class of ’74 who were not able to be at the lunch and a toast was made to absent friends. We then enjoyed a leisurely meal catching up with each other’s lives. The fact that we are retired, and appear to be enjoying the freedom that offers, no doubt contributed to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Many of those present thought it would be a good idea to meet more often, certainly before 2024.

Ang Cropper

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In memoriam

Hilary Tointon (nee Baynes) 1962-2019

Hilary graduated from Bristol Dental School in 1985 and worked in the south of England before establishing her own dental practice, “Teeth on The Heath” in the Canford Heath area of Poole.

She retired in 2015 following her diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer and was able to enjoy her remaining time to the full.

Hilary died peacefully in Forest Holme Hospice on Monday 21st October 2019, aged 57 years. Her husband Mark and their much-loved children Jamie and Lily were with her.

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Bristol students win Future of Dentistry award!

Huge congratulations to Tilly Houston and Hannah Wilkins for winning Best Dental Elective 2019 at the Future of Dentistry Awards in London this past weekend. The Future of Dentistry Awards acknowledge the talent and the contribution of inspiring dental students and professionals across the United Kingdom, and provide a number of awards to recognise student and professional achievements in dentistry.  Prof Robinson commented, “This is fantastic news and reflects just as well on the School as it already does on both Hannah and Tilly. Very well done indeed!“.

Hannah and Tilly’s Evidence Summary investigated whether carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is more successful as a vital tooth whitening agent.
Well done to both!
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Year of ’69, 50th Reunion

Read the whole report by clicking here

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Class of 1983, 35th year Reunion

The class of 83 met on the weekend of November 17th2018 for their 35 year reunion. There were some early arrivals, who met on the Friday night to share a few drinks and a curry. The main event began on Saturday with the customary tour of the Dental Hospital, conducted this year by Sue Hooper. It was a sharp reminder of our advancing years in that Mansoor was accompanied by his daughter who herself is a final year student at the BDH. This spilled over for a few of us who continued to greet one another over a few drinks whilst watching England play rugby.

Later on, dressed for the evening we all met at The Marriott Hotel. I think we were all amazed by the excellent turnout by not only our year group but many of our former tutors, who came out of retirement to share the evening with us. This was such a kind gesture and many stories were exchanged throughout the evening. Special mention must also go to Abbas who flew in from Canada  – great effort!

The night began with a champagne reception followed by a delicious meal for most of us. However, Jenny’s meal confirmed that I am highly unlikely to ever become a vegan!

Following the meal Dave Wood gave a talk on the charity he is currently involved with in Africa –Bridge 2 Aid.  This is a charity that sends dentists to tutor local nurses who are trained to administer emergency dental treatments to people in need of pain relief. A donation was later made by the guests of the evening to this worthy cause.

The night continued into the early hours dancing to the tunes of our youth. Many of us made the most of seeing each other again and talked till morning. Needless to say breakfast  was slightly subdued.

Again none of this would have taken place if it were not for the excellent organisational skills of Shilly and Tracey, who somehow manage to keep the attendance levels high even after 35 years. Already the date is set for 2023 – who could ask for more? Here’s looking forward to our 40th.

Owen Jenkins

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In Memoriam

It is with sadness we have to report of the death of Francis “Frankie” Poku (BDS 1965) on 26th January 2019. He will be buried in Ghana on 23rd March 2019. The photo shows him presenting a plaque to Jonathan Sandy at our centenary meeting in November 2012.

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1988, 30th Year Reunion

Darren Hills reports:

Preparation for our customary quinquennial reunion commenced in January. On 24th November 2018, 27 of our year (plus 15 partners) gathered together to reminisce the 30 years since undergraduate qualification. Particularly impressive was the effort made by Tony Hill to travel all the way from Tasmania!

Events kicked off with a tour around the Dental Hospital on the Saturday morning, which Ken Marshall very generously offered to host. Almost uniquely amongst British Dental Schools, BDH remains on its original site. However, although the front façade remains relatively unchanged, it has been extended and extensively modified, such that it was almost unrecognisable from the building we trained in. In fact, we spent a fair amount of time trying to recall the 1980s layout! The clinical areas are vastly expanded to accommodate larger year intakes, the library has been replaced by a computer room and all students now have the benefit of using microscopes for endodontics – no wonder we found it so difficult back then! Ken’s “surgery design” in Cons has stood the test of time though and it was good to hear that so many of the people who taught us are still associated with the school in one way or another.

The main event was a black-tie dinner at Hotel du Vin. There was much catching up during the champagne reception followed by an enjoyable meal. It is fair to say that everyone has worn fairly well and also mellowed over the years. We have collectively followed quite diverse career pathways, but most of us are still practicing dentistry in some shape or form and there was genuine interest in what everyone is now doing. Chris Stephens kindly spoke after dinner and although not said literally, it was clear that BDH continues to benefit from the generosity and commitment of many of the people who taught us and no doubt their successors. It was therefore appropriate that the £850 raised from the event was donated to BDH.

Needless to say, the evening continued well into the night. We will definitely do this again in 2023!

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In memoriam:

We are sad to report the death of Jennie Williams (neé Ellis-Jones), former wife of Richard Joy.

Jennie graduated BDS Bristol in 1964; the only student in the year to gain an honours degree and spent many years practising orthodontics in Bob Russell’s practice in Frome. She died on 24th December 2018 following a long illness and is survived by 3 daughters.

A memorial service will be held in Saltford Parish Church on 23rd January at 2pm.

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A little bit of personal history by Chris Stephens

Reunions are more enjoyable as one gets older. No longer does one have to listen to how wonderful everyone else’s children are doing at school, university, or the City and can relax and talk about former shared times. While most dental school have alumni  associations their reunions take a variety of forms. As far as I am aware in the UK there are only two reunions of formerdental staff. There is our own which meets every couple of months now centred on the Shakespeare pub in Redland. It is not exclusive to  former Bristol dental staff  and graduates are welcome. The other is theEmbryo Club which meets twice yearly in Whitehall London and is of much older vintage having been established in in the late 1940s by notable Guys Dental staff.

Whilst Embryo Club lunches are not exclusive to Guys alumni it is rather old fashioned in that joining is by invitation only and it has only been agreed in the past few months to admit women! (It was after all only 1948 that the Guys Dental School admitted women to the dental course  whereas in enlightened Bristol  we had done so from 1909; the first woman to qualify in dentistry being Marjorie White in 1915).

But I digress. Having become a new member of the said Embryo club (don’t ask about the origins of the name it is a long story)  I found myself in the august company of my former teachers, notably Jack Rowe Professor of Conservative Dentistry and later Dean of the School, now in his 90s.  He had been taught by David Robinson who had qualified 4 years before him in 1944. This was the era of “see one do one teach one” where promising students on qualification were invited to join the staff as part time demonstrators. DavidRobinson had by this time become a part-time lecturer and was busy building up his practice in south London which Jack Rowe soon joined in 1949. In 1965, the year in which I qualified, Jack completed his MDS, the first Guy’s graduate  to do so, and was appointed  to a full time senior lecturer post there.This left left a  vacancy in  David Robinson’s practice which my wife and I were invited to join.

Another member of the Embryo Club present at my first lunch  was BruceRobinson, who I remembered as an 11 year old while  I was working at his father’s practice.  Very recently Bruce, who turned out to be the third generation of dentist in his family,  presented me with a photograph of his grandfather’s year of qualification in 1924. As this was from Bristol he pointed out that my arrival at Bristol in 1971 had completed the Robinson “teaching circle”. 

Some of the other names of those who qualified in 1924 can be arrived at by searching early  Dentists Registers. Almost all of those who I have identified had taken the LDS Bristol or the LDSRCS (Eng)  for although the BDS (UBrist) had been established  in 1909  in order to become a BDS student one had to have matriculated which was still a rarity at that time. It is intriguing to realise that the Class of 1924 would have been taught, among others,    

by  George Fawn who finally retired in 1947. His eponymous prize in Childrens’ Dentistry is still awarded today. George  had been the first to qualify with the BDS Bristol in 1912.  However this was not the first Bristol BDS degree to be awarded. That honour goes jointly to Messrs Kelsey and Lennox who a year earlier had been examined by Sir Charles Tomes the then external. However both had achieved the licentiate of one of the Royal Colleges several years before; Kelsey obtained the LDS RCPS Glasgow in 1898 and Lennox the LDSRCS England in 1903. William Lennox would remain on the school staff until 1941.

 But who then is the much older suited gentleman in the back row of the photograph? At first I had assumed that he was one of the class’ teachers but why only one when there were at least three clinical teachers by this time? More likely it is William Herbert Phillips who had qualified LDSRCS (Eng) in 1898  in the days before one needed a dental qualification to practise. He then seems to have been moved, like others of that generation,  to obtain the LDS Bristol in 1924. He was still practising in Paignton in 1954.


Saunders CJG.  The University of Bristol Dental School and Hospital. University of Bristol, 1964

Saunders CJG. The United Bristol Hospitals. Board of the United Bristol Hospitals, 1965

Smith GM. A history of the Bristol Royal Infirmary. J W Arrowsmith Ltd., Bristol. 1917

Stephens CD. A history of the University of Bristol Dental School and its site. Bristol Dental Alumni Association. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9549861-5-5

Stoy PJ. The  Bristol Dental  School  1874-1940. British Dental Journal 1947, 82: 141-142

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” Where’s Derek?”

Many of us will remember  Arthur Darling’s loud enquiry, more of a command,  usually coming from one of the lecture theatres or from the Histopath lab on Wednesday mornings.  Derek  patiently played  the  dental “Jeeves” to Arthur,  always patient, helpful and competent.  Since his retirement  several years ago Derek has been living in Hereford but still visits his sister in Bristol occasionally where it was my good luck to run into  him. (It is one of the pleasures of retirement to run into former colleagues). Derek  was just the same though like may of us feeling the effects of anno domini. He told me he now has two mobility scooters; one for daily use and the other for Grand Prix events. Great to meet up  Derek!

Chris Stephens