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Celebrating 90 years young


Newcastle University celebrates with legendary figure Lord Walton as the former Dean of Medicine, who helped shape our pioneering curriculum, reaches his 90th birthday.

The professor of Neurology who is renowned in the medical profession and has made an invaluable contribution to the pioneering Newcastle curriculum, will turn 90 this month. He is still an active cross bencher in the House of Lords balancing international travel with trips to London. 

The University is holding a series of celebrations as part of our Lord Walton Day at the Medical School on Monday 10th September to celebrate his exceptional legacy.

Born in Rowlands Gill and later attending a school at Hobson Colliery where his father was head teacher, Lord Walton was accepted as a medical student, entering the Newcastle medical school, King’s College, Durham University, and graduating after a shortened wartime course in 1945.

Specialising in neurology, Lord Walton went on to establish a new classification system for muscular dystrophy based on genetic information.

While leading a major neuromuscular research programme and still teaching students, he was appointed Dean of Medicine in 1971. However, it is a day in 1980 that he recalls with pride – the day he was given the Freedom of the City of Newcastle – alongside Jackie Milburn, the former England and Newcastle centre forward.

Lord Walton said: "I am deeply honoured and touched by the University's decision to arrange a symposium and dinner for my 90th birthday.  I am proud to be a graduate of the Newcastle Medical School, once a part of Durham University when I graduated, now, of course, a major part of Newcastle University and widely acknowledged to be one of the very best Medical Schools in the UK, if not the best.

"I am, of course, delighted to have reached my 90th birthday in good health and am still managing to play golf as President of Bamburgh Golf Club, and still keep a proud and watchful eye on 'my' Walton Library and 'my' Medical School."

Many congratulations and best wishes to Lord Walton. More information on his life and work can be read on our 1835 website.

The Walton Legacy: A research symposium is hosted in the Faculty of Medical Sciences on Monday 10th September (full programme listed below).

Evening Celebratory Lectures with speakers: Sir Mark Walport of the Wellcome Trust and Robert Meadowcroft from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

The Walton Legacy : A research symposium: programme
Professor David Bates:  “Lord Walton – a historical perspective”
Professor Kate Bushby: “The changing perspective on muscular dystrophies"
Professor David Burn: “Neurodegeneration: The Final Frontier?”
Professor Tim Griffiths:  “Hearing is believing”
Professor Janet Eyre: “Video games and neurology”
Professor Patrick Chinnery: "Will the exome replace the tendon hammer?"
Professor Doug Turnbull: “How many parents are we allowed?”
And finally the audience will hear from Mr Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust

published on: 9 September 2012