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Obituary - Dr Verna Wright

summer 1998

From nucleus - summer 1998 - Obituary - Dr Verna Wright [p5]

'...follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ' (1 Cor 11:1) Dr Verna Wright - evangelist, physician and research scientist - Born 31 December 1928; died 31 January 1998.

After meeting Verna, it could be a shock to discover his standing in the world of medical science. Few professors show such concern and interest in medical students and encourage them in faith!

Verna studied medicine at Liverpool University where he also did his postgraduate year. He then spent two years as an SHO at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. So began a career in his lifelong interest in joint function, injury and disease. Having gained his MD, he lectured at Leeds University for two years before becoming a research fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Verna returned to Leeds in 1964 to be a consultant physician and senior lecturer. He was instrumental in establishing a specialist rheumatology unit, developing a multidisciplinary approach (including engineering and pharmacology departments) to his research, and establishing rehabilitation medicine as a speciality in its own right. His key research interests were joint lubrication and arthritic disease progression. He accurately predicted genetic links between different forms of arthritis before laboratory tests were available to prove him right.

While at Leeds, Verna wrote or co-authored over 1000 scientific papers and 21 books, including two about his faith, 'The Relevance of Christianity in a Scientific Age' and 'Personal Peace in a Nuclear Age'. Upon his death, a Leeds hospital hung its flag at half mast, indicating the respect with which he was regarded.

In faith as in science, Verna was a communicator. He was a gentle preacher of enthusiasm and power. He had a deep love and knowledge of the Bible and a great ability to motivate and encourage others. His pulpits varied from Bedford Market to schools, churches and universities. Whilst still at medical school, Verna co-founded United Beach Missions, bringing the Christian message to families holidaying in Llandudno. Under his chairmanship, it grew to involve 3000 people, working on the beaches of Britain, France and Belgium. He also chaired Young Life, a strongly evangelistic Christian organisation dedicated to teaching and training young people. Through this work, Verna kept a 'grass roots' approach, influencing many, many young people by encouraging, teaching and setting a godly example of compassion and humility.

When Verna discovered that his life was about to end, he responsed: 'When you see the tape, you run faster'. His life and example are a challenge to be whole- hearted for the gospel. Give glory to God.

Written by:
Charlotte Hattersley
Clinical Medical Student

More from nucleus: summer 1998

  • Editorial
  • Cloning
  • Obituary - Dr Verna Wright
  • News Review
  • Evolution - a Theory in Crisis?
  • Surrogacy
  • Deadly Questions... on Abortion (part 2)
  • Differential Diagnosis 24
  • Fishing the Net
  • Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult (Book Review)
  • Know Your Bible 26
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