Roland Fanthorpe was born in Torquay, the son of a production engineer. He received his medical education at the London Hospital where, being a keen sportsman, he also obtained his colours for cricket and rugby football. After qualifying he held various junior hospital appointments and then did his National Service in the RAMC, 1945-49, becoming a medical specialist with the rank of major. After release he had further hospital appointments, including house physician at the Brompton Hospital, medical registrar at Bristol Royal Infirmary and assistant chest physician at the Edmonton Chest Clinic.
In 1952 he was appointed consultant chest physician in Croydon. To start with he had well over 100 beds, chiefly at the Mayday Hospital, and most of his patients had pulmonary tuberculosis. Later, fortunately, this disease was brought under control and in I960 he became a general physician but continued his interest in his chest clinic work. He played a full part in all hospital activities, serving as chairman of the medical advisory committee and later as chairman of the medical division. In 1965 he became the first clinical tutor in Croydon and laid the foundation for the present thriving medical centre and library. He was an active member of the Croydon Medical Society and was president from 1980-81.
Fanthorpe was an excellent physician, with good judgement, and was popular with his hospital colleagues and with the local general practitioners. He never did any private practice and his hospital and chest clinic were the centre of his professional life. In spite of his general ability he never published any papers.
He married in 1947 and had two daughters. Unfortunately, he was not happily married and the stresses at home may have contributed to his coronary artery disease, from which he suffered during the last two or three years of his life. This did not interrupt his hospital work and he did not retire until he was 65. Immediately after his retirement he left his home and went to live in Somerset, where he died suddenly only fifteen months later.
His great popularity was demonstrated at his Memorial Service when the Mayday Hospital's chapel was full, with many people standing at the back, on a cold and snowy day in January 1985. I felt honoured by being asked to give the address.