Dr Alexander Cameron

THE death has taken place of Dr Alexander (Sandy) Cameron who passed away surrounded by his loving family on June 14 at his Ardaluin Court home in Newcastle. He was 96.

A man who was guided by fundamental principles which shaped the lives of all who were close to him, Dr Cameron was born in South Africa in 1922, to a Scottish father and Irish mother.

He grew up in Johannesburg and served as an officer in the South African Air Force during the Second World War, flying supplies to the Allied forces from Kimberly to North Africa.

After the war, the British government offered all servicemen a free passage to England as a thank-you for their efforts. 

Sandy took up this offer and made his way to Scotland where he studied medicine at Edinburgh University. Once qualified, he worked in Scotland for a couple of years before moving to Liverpool, commencing work at Sefton General Hospital where he gained his Degree in tropical Medicine. 

It was there that he met his future wife, an Irish lass named Loretta Kennedy, who was working as a radiographer. They married in the University Church, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, in 1955 and a year later they, together with Mary, their first born, moved to Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was then called, where they extended their family.

Sandy worked in general practice in Salisbury — now Harare — specialising in Cardiology and Tropical Medicine. As a consultant physician he volunteered his medical expertise at the local mission schools to children who, because of the colour of their skin, were denied adequate health care.

He lectured in the university of Rhodesia as an Honorary Clinical Lecturer where the medical students appreciated his lectures, demonstrations and bedside teaching. Letters from fellow consultants, colleagues and government ministers allude to the fact that he would be sadly missed within the medical community of Rhodesia and indeed, his very large number of patients to whom he had attended over the years.

In 1968, Sandy was made a honorary major in the Defence Forces of Rhodesia, a role he undertook diligently.

In 1971, as the political landscape changed in Zimbabwe, Sandy made the difficult decision to leave his beloved country, believing that it would be impossible to bring up his young family safely in a country in the throes of a civil war. 

He moved his young family firstly to London for a brief spell, before finally settling in Northern Ireland where he practiced as a physician both in Downpatrick and Belfast, where his considerable talents as a physician, and his outstanding abilities as a geriatrician, were well recognised and appreciated by everyone until his retirement in 1987.

Sandy was a devoted family man who adored his darling Loretta for the whole of their 63 years of marriage. Similarly, he loved all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His love for each of them was unconditional and never wavered. It survived through all times, good or bad. He also forged strong and deep ties with his wider family circle, both on the Cameron and Kennedy sides.

Sandy was a man who was at one with nature and respected the beauty of the natural world. He loved the wild beauty of the Mourne Mountains and spent many an hour taking long walks through Tollymore  Forest Park, breaking away from the trodden paths and marking trees so as not to get lost. Sandy also loved spending long, happy hours in his garden which he attended to with pride.

His family would like to thank him from the bottom of their hearts for the guidance, support and love that he constantly provided to each and every one of them.

Sandy is survived by his wife, Loretta, sons John and Andrew, daughters, Mary, Ann, Jean, Fiona and Sheila, in-laws, Des, Brian, Peter, Say-Aun and Leona, together with his 20 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a brother, James, who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and a caring physician.