Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Dr Margaret Irish (nee Morrow) M.B., B.ch, D.R.C.O.G. (ex R.A.M.C) 1935-2012

Margaret Morrow was born in Belfast in 1935 and was educated at Grosvenor High School which she left, aged 17, to pursue a career in nursing. After a year as a student nurse she found the lure and challenge of medicine such that she returned to school to do physics and chemistry with a view to applying to study medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast.  She graduated in medicine in 1961 and following her internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital she joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.

After military training at Sandhurst , she was commissioned Captain and after a short sojourn in Kent a posting to Benghazi, Libya followed.  This was considered a particularly difficult posting for a female officer. However, for Margaret it proved fortuitous as it was there she met Clifford Irish, a civil engineer, and after a short romance Margaret chose to marry Clifford and return to Libya as a civilian doctor working for the Libyan Health Services rather than accept a military posting to Singapore. (A hasty decision was necessary as in those unenlightened times female army officers had to resign on marriage).

Margaret worked in the Libyan Health service until 1969, leaving just days before the coup led by Colonel Gadaffi. Their daughter, Melanie, was the last baby to be born at the British Military Hospital before the British Army pulled out of Benghazi. A son, Simon, was born less than a year later and in 1969 the family moved to Nairobi Kenya where Margaret worked variously as a general practitioner, a ship’s doctor on a cruise ship and as a flying doctor. In 1971 the family moved to Lilongwe, Malawi where Margaret spent the next few years developing her own small medical practice.

The family returned to England in 1974, eventually settling in Dorking, Surrey and Margaret returned to work with the Army, this time as Civilian Medical Practitioner. She worked variously with the Womens’ Royal Army Corps in Guildford and The Army Blood Donor Service and spent a year with the Army in Belgium, before taking up a post as Medical Officer with the Ministry of Defence in 1989, from whence she retired in 1995.

She had an active and fulfilling retirement combining part-time work with the M.O.D and the Disability Tribunals Service with her interests in needlecrafts and Victorian linen, poetry ,the arts and heritage and her Westie dogs. An avid reader of the Graduate, Margaret had attended several Queen’s reunions in her retirement years, most recently joining fellow graduates at the 50th Anniversary Reunion  at the Slieve Donard Hote, County Down, in 2011.  

She died very suddenly, unexpectedly but peacefully on 18 December 2012 and is fondly remembered by her family and friends at home and overseas. A thanksgiving service will be held on 17 March 2013 at 12.30 p.m. at the United Reformed Church, West Street, Dorking, Surrey.

 

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