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Mr Karl W Hancock, MB, ChB, FCROG

Mr Karl Hancock, former Senior Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Leeds General Infirmary), died on 18 December 2010.  He had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years.

Born in 1933, Mr Hancock read Medicine at the University of Manchester, graduating MB, ChB in 1957.  Following his pre-registration year, he spent his two years of National Service with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), serving in Kenya and Germany.  There followed a series of Senior House Officer and Registrar appointments in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in hospitals in and around Manchester.  As Registrar at the newly-opened Wythenshawe Maternity Hospital, his Consultant colleagues later paid warm tribute to the exemplary part he had taken in the successful establishment of the new facility and the inculcation of high standards of clinical practice.  They also spoke eloquently of the confidence his patients reposed in him, and of his popularity with his peers.  He obtained Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology in 1966.

Mr Hancock came to Leeds in February 1968 to take up an appointment as temporary Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  He moved into an established post in 1970, was accorded Honorary Consultant status by the United Leeds Hospitals in 1972 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1974.  Mr Hancock excelled as clinician, researcher and teacher.  In his lecturing, he was renowned for his clarity of exposition and meticulous preparation.  Professor James Scott, for many years Mr Hancock’s head of department, also wrote admiringly of his ‘talent for using to great effect the cheapest and most environmentally friendly teaching technique – that of studied silence.  This could stimulate sluggish students to unprecedented levels of cerebration.’

Research was another recurring theme in Mr Hancock’s career, most notably in the fields of reproductive immunology and endocrinology.  He was author and co-author of a number of important papers in these areas and was also invited to make presentations at a range of major international conferences.  Much of his research was interdisciplinary in nature and his easy, undemonstrative but friendly manner helped him bring together groups and workshops representing a broad cross-section of expertise and serving as the springboard for much successful research and progress.

Following the retirement of Professor Scott, Mr Hancock was appointed Acting Head of Department in 1989/90.

Notwithstanding his many other achievements, patient care always had first call on Mr Hancock’s attentions and he left a legacy of abiding gratitude and affection among his many patients when he retired in 1993.  He was held in equally warm regard by the generations of students and junior staff to whom he had been an ever-reliable and generous guide and mentor.

Mr Hancock is survived by his wife, Kathleen, son, Martin, and daughter, Susan, and three grandchildren.

A private cremation was followed by a Memorial Service at St Luke’s Church, Scarborough, on 30th December.