Cecil Alergant was born in Liverpool and educated at the Liverpool Institute and in Paris, where he developed fluency in French. He studied medicine at Liverpool University and distinguished himself by winning the Holt medal for physiology. He qualified in 1939 and, following clinical attachments, went into general practice.
He served in the RAMC from 1943-47, during which time he developed an interest in venereology. After the war he returned to England to take up duties as senior registrar in venereology at Newsham General Hospital, rapidly obtaining his MD in 1948, and his membership of the College the following year. After a brief spell as senior registrar at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary he was appointed consultant venereologist at that hospital in 1950, thus commencing a distinguished career which spanned three decades.
Cecil Alergant’s kindness, warmth, diplomacy and clinical acumen were appreciated greatly by staff and patients alike, and his marvellous intellect contributed significantly to research in the department. His medical opinions continued to be sought long after his retirement due to the depth of his knowledge and its contemporary nature.
‘CDA’, as he was affectionately known, was a great teacher at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and was instrumental in initiating lectures in venereology for nurses and midwives in many hospitals in Liverpool and west Lancashire. He was appointed clinical lecturer in venereology at Liverpool University in 1950, and became lecturer in charge of the department in 1965. His many and varied qualities led to his appointment as departmental head in 1966, a post which he held until his retirement.
In 1967, ‘CDA’ initiated the Liverpool course for the diploma in venereology and to this day it is the only course in which the diploma is awarded by a university. It has worldwide recognition.
He was an active and enthusiastic champion of the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases, being treasurer from 1969-75 and president from 1975-77. Regular attendances, with his wife Joan, both in England and abroad, established strong professional and lifelong friendships with many members. His active participation continued long after retirement; his last presentation being at the Society’s UK meeting in Cambridge, shortly before he died. His paper was received with warm enthusiasm and this, and the social events he attended with his wife, will long be remembered by those fortunate enough to have been there.
As a father, grandfather and father-in-law, Cecil Alergant had few peers. His generosity, humour and capacity for love, marked him as a great family man and his home in Liverpool was never short of visitors; a fact that was not lost on his devoted wife who spent many hours in the kitchen as a result. He was fond of crosswords and mathematical problems and derived much pleasure from teasing his family with both. His intellect and general knowledge complemented his unofficial position as the family arbiter and counsellor. Many have been the richer for his advice.
Retirement to Llandegla, North Wales, did not diminish family contact - long weekends and holidays allowing him time with his several grandchildren, whom he adored. Although deteriorating health limited his physical activity, his mental agility remained intact until his sudden death at home in July, 1988. Medicine had lost a wonderful physician and teacher; his family lost a patriach and gentleman.