GP and campaigner;
Born: June 24, 1946; Died: January 1, 2013.
Julian Toms, who has died aged 66, was a well-known general practitioner on Skye who was involved in many community projects and campaigns, including the abolition of tolls on the Skye Bridge. He was also a founding member of the Skye and Lochalsh Ski Club and played the fiddle in musical group The Stormyhill Scrapers.
He was born in Cornwall, the son of champion ploughman Roy Toms and his wife Muriel, who came from a farming family. He studied medicine at Cambridge, where he was also a member of the Cambridge Western Himalayan Expedition. Along with a group of fellow medical students, he received sponsorship to drive overland to India in a Land Rover collecting samples for parasitology studies.
After completing his clinical studies at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, his first job was at Treliske Hospital in Cornwall. By this time he was married; his first daughter Clare was born in 1970, his second Polly in 1972. But the family found Cornwall congested and began to consider a move to Scotland to get more space and the do some skiing in winter.
Dr Toms applied for a job in Craig Dunain Hospital in Inverness and lived there for a year with his family. His next move was to Muasdale, on the west coast of Kintyre, to single-handedly run a GP surgery and where he played the fiddle in a group called the Cornkisters. Nine years later he moved to St Andrews and worked at Dundee Royal Infirmary and at Ninewells in the neurology department.
He moved to Skye in 1984, returning to general practice in Portree. In 1989 he married Christine and their daughters Kirsty and Lucy were born in 1992 and 1993. In Portree he was closely involved with the design and building of the new surgery. He also became involved in community projects and groups, including the campaign for the abolition of tolls on the Skye Bridge for which he received a criminal record.
Away from the practice, he completed two six-month sabbaticals in Maori areas of New Zealand with his family. He loved running and managed to complete his 25th Portree half marathon in June last year, despite illness. He was also a keen skier although his greatest hobby was fishing. He took all four children and four grandchildren out fishing.
He was an outstanding doctor, an important community fundraiser for Cancer Research Scotland, Cancer Care and Lucky2bhere and always had time to listen to people. Having lost both his parents in their 50s, he understood the importance of charities such as these. He was also involved in the setting up of the palliative care bed in Portree Hospital.
He coped bravely with his illness over the last 20 months and will be dearly missed by many whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his sister Jenny, wife Christine, daughters Clare, Polly, Kirsty and Lucy and four grandchildren.
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