OBITUARY: Wilfrid Bruce Davis MBE
Our dear friend Bruce Davis MBE is no more.
Many palliative care activists like me, who have considered him a dear friend and benefactor, feel the pain of having a part of our very being taken away. Millions of people who have never known him have lost a friend whom they never knew.
Wilfrid Bruce Davis was born in England in 1925 into a family of businessmen and had to live with the suffering of several people with cancer in his family. On retirement, out of all his personal suffering, he made something beautiful happen. The trust that he founded, Wilfrid Bruce Davis Trust, started helping people who needed palliative care. His charitable arms extended across the length and breadth of India, from Guwahati Pain and Palliative Care Society in Assam in the North-East, to Kerala in the South-West. He funded educational efforts all over the country through the late Ms Val Hunkin and in many other ways, and helped palliative care organisations to build and grow in quantity as well as in quality.
When we had secured land from the Government of Kerala to build the Institute of Palliative Medicine at Calicut, he took it on himself to fund the whole project. An almost-shy person, he never liked the limelight. It was a matter of profound joy for us when he took part in the opening of the Institute of Palliative Medicine in January 2003. When later, some of us got together to create Pallium India for nationwide activities, he continued to support us.
His loving wife Dodo and he loved sailing. When they eventually sold their sailing boat which they had had for 32 years, the proceeds came to us to establish Pallium India’s Bruce Davis Training Centre. Since then, whenever I welcomed the participants of any course, I always started by introducing Bruce Davis to them. Both his picture and the picture of that sailing boat will continue to adorn the wall of our classroom.
Dear Dodo and family, a lot of us, his friends on the other side of the globe, share your pain and wish you strength to cope with the loss. And we shall continue our mission which we know was close to his heart.