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Celebration of the life of Caroline, Lady Rhys Williams

02 June 2010

A service of thanksgiving to celebrate the life of Caroline, Lady Rhys Williams, Chairman of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity who died in December 2009, will be held at 2pm on Thursday 8 July in St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington High Street.

346-caroline-lady-rhys-williams.jpgA service of thanksgiving to celebrate the life of Caroline, Lady Rhys Williams, Chairman of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity who died in December 2009, will be held at 2pm on Thursday 8 July in St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington High Street.

Caroline Rhys Williams supported the NHS through her voluntary and community work for more than 35 years. During the 1970s she worked on an early project to introduce Information Technology for medical records in the Department of Community Medicine at Westminster Hospital Medical School.

In 1974 she became a member and later Chairman of the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Community Health Council where she led a significant campaign to improve children’s health services. In 1982 she was appointed to the Board of Governors of Great Ormond Street Hospital and was appointed a Trustee of The Wishing Well Appeal. Caroline later became Chairman of the Family Health Services Authority for Barking and Havering, in addition to serving as Chairman of the Great Ormond Street Hospital School between 1984 and 1995.

Caroline appointed hundreds of specialist consultants and registrars to senior positions within the NHS as Chairman of the Medical Appointments Panel for Great Ormond Street Hospital (1990–2005) and Chairman of the Pan Thames Specialist Appointments Panel (1998–2005). Many consultants will recall her testing questions, aimed to ensure that they could communicate in “plain English” and did not exhibit symptoms of the disease she knew as “consultantitis”.

Caroline joined the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s Charitable Funds Committee in 1999 and became its Chairman in 2002 (never a Chair, which she knew was an inanimate object). She led the transformation of the Committee to an independent charity and was elected Chairman of the new Board of Trustees of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity in May 2005. She was extensively involved in all aspects of the Charity’s arts, fundraising and grant making activities.

As a local resident, Caroline had a strong affinity with the Trust, not least as three of her grandchildren were born at Chelsea and Westminster. She was regularly seen in and around the hospital supporting a wide variety of activities and events, particularly the annual Open Day and the Charity’s Hospital Arts performances and displays.

Caroline died peacefully at the Royal Marsden Hospital on 27 December 2009 surrounded by her family. During the course of her illness, which she bore with her characteristic fortitude, Caroline also received treatment at the Chelsea and Westminster. She is greatly missed by all her many colleagues and friends.