29 October 2012
Former BMA president Averil Mansfield is hoping to solve the mystery surrounding a bust of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan she has presented to the association.
The bronze bust was spotted in a Buckinghamshire antiques shop by London emeritus professor of clinical neuroscience Dafydd Thomas.
He told Professor Mansfield and her husband, retired London consultant general and vascular surgeon Jack Bradley, about his find and the couple bought it and presented it to the BMA.
But they have been unable to discover any information about the bust’s sculptor or the story behind its creation. The bust was found in the garage of a house near East Grinstead, West Sussex, that had been jointly owned by a number of trades unions and used as offices and storage.
Professor Thomas has speculated that it could be attributed to sculptor Robert Thomas who cast the bronze Bevan statue in Cardiff city centre and a bust in the Houses of Parliament.
BMA board of science chair Professor Mansfield said it was appropriate for the association to have a bust of Bevan because ‘the BMA is a strong, staunch supporter of the NHS, free at the point of use, and wants it to continue’.
She thanked the BMA’s senior officers for accepting the sculpture.
BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden: 'This bronze statute of Bevan which was donated to the BMA by Averil, a previous president of the BMA, was an offer that the BMA simply could not turn down. We don't know much about the history of the statue but felt that it represented the ethos of the NHS and was a reminder of the reasons it was set up to take care of the people of the UK.
'We had a special plinth made so that it could have a place of pride in the Hastings Room. In these times when the NHS seems under so many threats it is good to be reminded of the special place the NHS has in the hearts of the doctors and population of the UK.'
Do you know who might have created the bust? If so, email the BMA.