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Bernice Joyce Alldred 's story

This account has been partially adapted from "Browns of Kyeburn Peninsula" by Wally Brown - to whom many thanks



Bunny qualified at the Otago School of Physiotherapy in 1944 and married Heath in the same year. Heath had graduated from Otago School of Medicine in 1943, and under WW2 manpower regulations they spent two years working at Grey River Hospital, Greymouth. They then joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit, serving for three years in China during the civil war. Based first at Anjang north of the Yellow River, they treated battle casualties from both the nationalist and communist sides. They then moved to Wuhan, where Heath was a general surgeon and Bunny set up a school of physiotherapy (still functioning in 1978 when they revisited their early experiences.)

Another move followed - this time to the UK where they both worked at St John's Hospital, London after which they moved to Sully Hospital in Glamorgan, South Wales. The Sully Hospital was opened in 1936 King Edward VII Welsh National Memorial Association with the purpose of treating chronic and advanced pulmonary disease. By the 1960s the hospital had developed into a centre for the treatment of chest and heart patients, and clearly provided excellent experience for Heath as a thoracic surgeon.

In 1953 the Thompsons returned to Christchurch. Tuberculosis was a major health problem in Canterbury then, before new antibiotics were found to control it. Dr Thompson performed many operations on TB patients in primitive facilities at the Cashmere sanatorium. He also pioneered vascular and cardiac surgery, before the use of bypass pumps and the development of new expertise shifted much of this work to Auckland's Greenlane Hospital. Heath carried out early asthma treatments, clearing out lungs in the days before bronchial-dilating inhalers became available. He and Bunny worked together to improve asthma treatment and were largely responsible for the establishment of the Asthma Society. They produced three films on respiratory diseases that were widely acclaimed and used. Heath and Bunny had many papers on their work published. Bunny set up her own practice in Christchurch specialising in respiratory therapy and in 1978 was awarded the QSM for her services to the community.

In 1959 Heath became Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery for the hospital board. In 1980 he became Medical Superintendent of The Princess Margaret Hospital, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. Bunny persued her interest in tennis as did Heath; both were interested in classical music. Bunny played both violin and piano and Heath was for several years the manager of the Risingholme Center Orchestra

They were both members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and adamantly opposed to nuclear weapons and as strongly supporting peace movements. They had one daughter of their own and adopted two boys and a girl



Heath Thurlow Thompson

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