Robert Taylor (1956–2014)
Robert Taylor died on 7 September after a short but devastating illness. He was a dear friend, a valued colleague of all and someone who enjoyed life to the full. After a spell as an assistant psychologist to John Teasedale in Oxford, researching mood and memory, Robert studied clinical psychology at Edinburgh University from 1979 to 1981 under the tutelage of the late and great Ralph McGuire. He obtained his PhD in 1984 and worked as a clinical neuropsychologist at Leeds and Wakefield before returning to the job at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh in 1991, the job he had always wanted. He worked as a single-handed practitioner from then until his retirement in 2013.
In younger years, he was a skillful woodworker and musician, and enjoyed cycling and rowing. My husband (also an oarsman in his youth) and I met up with him every few months, laughed ourselves silly, listened to James Taylor and Carole King endlessly, played Trivial Pursuit, argued, discussed the NHS (also endlessly) and generally tried to put the world to rights. His greatest happiness and pride was his two children, Stuart and Fiona. It is absolutely typical of Robert that he would not have boasted about his children’s prowess any more than he would have talked about his own. In fact, having known him for 35 years and talked to patients and staff who worked with him, I heard much about his kindness and support for colleagues. He worked very hard, had great compassion for the people whom he saw: often young people with catastrophic brain injuries, trauma and tumours. He occasionally joked about the fact that, had he let a long waiting list develop at DCN, he might have persuaded the NHS to employ a few more neuropsychologists, rather than consultant neurologists. Instead, he did not take holidays, worked as hard as he could for his patients and quietly got on with the job at hand.
Robert was concerned about what he would do in retirement, but told me that he was enjoying himself immensely. He was intending to continue his medico-legal practice and had a vast amount of research material which he was intending to work on and publish. He was not happy about having developed illness so soon after retiring, because he was just settling into it. In his last few weeks, even as he lurched from one medical crisis to another, he was more concerned for the well-being of his family and friends than he was for himself. He did not want to be a bother to anyone and never was. He is survived by his son and daughter, his brother Keith and his mother. And his friends: I am proud to have been one of them.
BPS Members can discuss this article
Already a member? Or Create an account
Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber