Obituary: Gwen Davies

Gwendolen Davies, physiotherapist, born Denbigh Glyndwr 8 May 1904, died Liverpool 28 July 1992.

IN THE WORLD of physiotherapy Gwen Davies was an exceptionally gifted practitioner and achieved so much as a teacher who inspired young people. Many of these physiotherapists who owed their success to her gifts of communication kept in touch with her after her retirement.

Educated at the Howells School in Denbigh, north Wales, Gwen Davies came to Liverpool to be trained and stayed all her life in the city (except for a short period at King's College, London). In Liverpool she met another exceptional practitioner of the art of physiotherapy, Miss E. Bartlett. She and Bartlett not only became colleagues, but also lifelong friends, and their professional co- operation made the Liverpool School of Physiotherapy an institution of high repute. Students from all over Britain came for training and Davies was also involved for a period with the School of Occupational Physiotherapy in Huyton. Finally she became the principal of the United Liverpool Hospital's School of Physiotherapy.

Hundreds of students idolised her and some of them were with her in the last few weeks of her illness, for to them Gwen Davies had given them standards that had stood them well in the exacting discipline of physiotherapy. While she accepted the need for technology, to her there was no substitute for the healing touch of consecrated hands. Her final years were at the I & Marsh College (now part of the new John Moores University) where she was in charge of the Anatomy Department.

Gwen Davies had a great interest in literature. She was very proud that she was the niece of Thomas Gwynn Jones, the poet of the great-souled hero Arthur and the enchanted land of the imagination, in a number of ways the greatest figure of the literature of Wales in the 20th century. His photograph was always near her table. She immersed herself also in the work of RS Thomas, whose Prytherch poems were a constant source of delight. So were the prose poems and parables of the Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gilbran. Davies took delight in introducing us to poets who had a great reservoir of spiritual life.

An internationalist, she loved travel and especially Canada and Vancouver. But she also believed that one had to be committed to the local community. Generous in every way, she supported organisations which looked after the Third World and such appeals were always well supported. She bridged the gap between individuals of different faiths and she in her own life was an excellent practitioner for the Council of Christians and Jews.

Though in her earlier life she did private work as a physiotherapist, she also voluntarily and without a fee helped the very poor from Liverpool 8, who could not afford physiotherapy in the days before the National Health Service.

As she grew older she became more Welsh in her outlook and interests and her religious upbringing within the Presbyterian Church of Wales was also strengthened through prayer and the sacrament of the Lord's supper.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate