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Obituary: Professor Ian Burn

Ian Burn

BASO Council is saddened to announce that Professor Ian Burn passed away on 3rd April 2024. He was one of the founding members of BASO and a former President of BASO (1981-1983), President of ESSO from (1986-1989) and the inaugural President of the World Federation of Surgical Oncology Societies (1992-95). His contributions to BASO and the field of cancer surgery were invaluable.

Born in 1927 in London, Ian completed his medical education at St Bartholomew's Medical College from 1944 to 1950, affiliated with London University. He commenced his professional journey as a Surgical Specialist in the RAF Medical Service from 1952 to 1954, followed by a tenure at the Anatomy Department of the University of Cambridge from 1954 to 1955. Subsequently, he held positions as a Consultant in General Surgery at Hammersmith Hospital from 1965 to 1972, and as a Consultant Surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital from 1973 to 1987. Throughout his career, his focus gradually shifted towards oncology, particularly specializing in breast cancer screening and treatment. Ian concluded his professional endeavours as the Medical Director of King Edward VII Hospital in Midhurst from 1994 to 1995.

Reluctantly retiring from the clinical work at the age of 70, Ian followed another of his interests, enrolling on a distant learning Opera Degree Course culminating in his Bachelor of Art Degree in 2001.

Apart from numerous intellectual interests, Ian was a sportsman. He enjoyed his athletics, rugby and cricket competitively, and swam, sailed and skied for leisure. In later years, he turned to croquet for exercise, still with his competitive streak.

His publications include nine books, notably Systematic Surgery, 1965; Journey of a Cancer Surgeon (memoirs), 2007.

As a medical student, Ian met Fiona M. Allan, a nurse at Bart's. They married in 1951 and were blessed with four children. Their bond lasted for 72 joyful years until Fiona passed away last year.

Ian was a long life, multifaceted and lived to the full. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. We are also grateful to Mike Payne, a close friend of Ian, for providing us with valuable insights into Ian's life.

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