Alumni couple Judy and Stephen Kane met in 1965 at St George’s and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year with a “mega party”. To mark Valentine’s Day, here they reminisce about how they met, their medical careers, and how they manage family life.

Judy and Stephen Kane

calendar-icon 14 February 2018

 

Judy and Stephen both came from a “St George’s family background”, with Judy’s father training to be a doctor, her mother a nurse and Stephen’s father, who completed his post-doc clinical training here. They continue this legacy by supporting students at the university today, both financially through donations to the alumni fund and conducting MMI interviews.

Love at first sight?

Stephen: “We met on our first day in an old lecture theatre on the Hyde Park Corner site at the end of April in 1965. It wasn’t love at first sight but we knew each other for around two months before I asked Judy if she would like to go to a classical music concert with me.”

Judy: “I mean we eyed each other up beforehand of course! Stephen still has the programme from the concert actually.”

Stephen: “We like all the same things. We love to travel, we love music and theatre but we do have our own interests, too. Judy adores tennis and plays twice a week but that’s not for me. I took on an archaeology degree in my retirement.”

Judy: “It helps that I married a husband who doesn’t do a lot of arguing, though he does get cross at my backseat driving!”

Medical marriages don’t last

Stephen: “We got married in the summer of 1967 and moved in together into our first home near Sloane Square so that we were close to the medical school for our first-year post-qualification placements.”

Judy: “I actually took my final exams when I was seven months’ pregnant and I’m certain that the all-male examiner panel thought I had got lost on the way to obstetrics! I thought it was all rather fun.”

Stephen: “I remember a colleague in the doctor’s mess [staff room] saying to me when we got back from our honeymoon that medical marriages don’t last. I saw him a few years ago and was happy to tell him that we had proved him wrong.”

We complement each other

Stephen: “Life went on. We had two children and moved to Kingston, where we have been for the last 48 years. I specialised in gastroenterology and throughout my career I worked all over London including at the Royal Marsden and St George’s Hospital before settling at West Middlesex Hospital.”

Judy: “I was made partner in a general practice surgery local to where we live and I have been there for the last 36 years and loved it. I was close with the local community, so much so that when I retired, I threw a tea party for the patients.”

Stephen: “When our children were small, all the balls were kept juggling in the air as we were both career driven. Judy took on a role that involved late finishes and travel to different hospitals in London so I took a year off from practising and took up research instead to keep more regular hours. We also relied on nannies and au pairs.”

Judy: “That’s one of the things that I think contributes to a happy marriage actually – it is terribly important to share parental responsibilities and household chores and to compromise. We like doing different tasks and so we complement each other.”