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A Thanksgiving Service for the life of Evelyn Cobb was held at St Agatha's Church on Thursday December 15. Evelyn was a familiar face in the village for 25 years – but many did not know of her highly successful professional life as a leading oncologist. Her husband, Leon, gave details in his address at the funeral. A revised version of this, which appeared in The Villager,  is reprinted below:

Evelyn A M Cobb ( née Boesen)

Dr Evelyn Cobb died at her home here in Brightwell at the beginning of December and a Thanksgiving Service was held in St Agatha’s on 15 December. This kind and gentle lady will be sadly missed within our community.

After qualifying in medicine in 1953 at the Royal Free Hospital in London she went to Presbyterian St Luke’s hospital in Chicago. On her return to London she took up an appointment at the Royal Free Hospital where she pioneered work in the treatment of intracranial tumours with radio-active implants.  She was soon recruited to the Royal Marsden Hospital where she joined Eve Wiltshaw and David Galton in the newly formed Department of Clinical Research.   Over the next 10 years these three physicians laid down the ground rules for the application of cytotoxic drugs in the treatment of cancer; later called chemotherapy.   In this period their offices and clinics became a mecca - attracting doctors from around the world. The ground rules that they laid down were distilled by Evelyn into her textbook   ‘Cytotoxic Drugs in the treatment of Cancer’ (E Boesen & W Davis), published in 1969. This influential book was for many years translated and read by a wide audience of physicians anxious to give their patients the best possible treatment.

Subsequently, the Royal Free Hospital invited Evelyn back to start a department of oncology, which under her supervision grew rapidly attracting patients from home and abroad.   Her kind and compassionate nature made her very popular with patients – some of whom wrote or visited us in Brightwell decades after their treatment had been completed.

Some 25 years ago Evelyn and I settled here in this lovely village and in 1993 Evelyn retired to enjoy her family, her garden and her cats. Within the community she cooked for the Lunch Club, wrote for the History Group and attended St Agatha’s – all with quiet enthusiasm. 

Leon Cobb

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