Obituary: Geoffrey Foulkes

Geoffrey Lloyd Foulkes, physician: born Ilford 31 January 1923; Chairman, Traditional Acupuncture Society 1976-80, President 1980-82; President, British Naturopathic and Osteopathic Association 1981-82; married 1970 Gillian Williamson; died Ilford 9 May 1993.

COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, at least the sharp end - acupuncture, naturopathy, osteopathy - has lost a veteran campaigner and inveterate clown with the death of Geoffrey Foulkes. To a profession inclined to take itself too seriously - owing, perhaps, to a long struggle for recognition - Foulkes brought a unique blend of concern for the safeguards and standards required in its rapid evolution and a disarming humour that was a persuasive tool in his years of committee work on its behalf.

Through his terms as President of the British Naturopathic and Osteopathic Association and as both President and Chairman of the Traditional Acupuncture Society, which he helped to found in the mid-Seventies, Foulkes became actively involved in many of the earliest debates which laid the foundations for the greater respect complementary medicine commands today. The establishment of the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board and the imminent arrival on the statutes of the Osteopathic Registration Bill are just two examples of the fruits carefully nurtured by years of patient campaigning and negotiation to which he contributed.

Foulkes's efforts at improving the lot of complementary practitioners and their patients were prompted by his own early struggles at a time when becoming a naturopath or osteopath was very much a vocation rather than just another career option. At the start of the Second World War there were not that many options and Foulkes became an apprentice draughtsman at Briggs Motors (later to become part of Ford Motors), where he was a contemporary of the speed ace Donald Campbell.

It was, he said, purely by accident - a severe rugby injury incurred during the war while in the Royal Navy - that he entered the healing profession. He was paralysed for more than six months and during the slow process of recovery he received considerable help from an osteopath which inspired his interest in natural therapeutics. It was to be some years before he could find the means to undertake the lengthy course of study, however, and only with the aid of a scholarship arranged by the principal of Towerleaze, a naturopathic clinic in Bristol where he had worked as a masseur, was he able to graduate in 1963 from the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy.

Those of us who were at college with him learnt to recognise the mischievous look, beneath the eyebrows that would have been the envy of Denis Healey, which heralded the injection of a little froth into the turgid proceedings of professional meetings. Foulkes's avuncular bearded figure conveyed to the uninitiated a gravitas which he self-deprecatingly demolished to make a significant point. At one of the last meetings of the Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine which he attended in the House of Commons, he pointed out the paradox that should he wish to train as ballet dancer he could obtain a grant more readily than to study osteopathy.

Geoffrey Foulkes brought commitment and quality to the care of his patients in Ilford, and fortunately his work will be continued at the clinic under the supervision of his wife, Gill. He also enriched the lives of colleagues and friends with his shrewd observations leavened always by laughter.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star