Vasculitis UK News

In Memory of Professor Paul Bacon "An Early Pioneer in Vasculitis"

06 Feb 2018

In Memory of Professor Paul Bacon

Paul Bacon, Emeritus Professor of Rheumatology and the first Arthritis Research Council Chair of Rheumatology in Birmingham UK died peacefully on Friday 5th January 2018 after a short illness.

Paul was a pioneering rheumatologist who, with great vision and a highly collaborative spirit led much of the seminal work in the assessment of disease activity and damage in SLE and Systemic Vasculitis. He was a key player in the foundation of the BILAG and SLICC consortia in the 1980’s and in his retirement, the Indian Takayasu Arteritis Activity Score.

As ARC Professor from 1981-2003 he set the foundations for academic rheumatology as a key medical discipline in Birmingham. His commitment to encouraging and training rheumatologists continued after his retirement and he worked tirelessly to support colleagues in India and the Far East. It is thought that Prof Bacon holds the accolade of having trained more Professors of Rheumatology than any other academic department in the UK.

He also played a large part in encouraging rheumatologists to take an interest in Vasculitis. He told us, that in 2006 at the British Society for Rheumatology Annual Conference in Birmingham, only a handful of rheumatologists showed an interest in attending the single session about Vasculitis, so as he lived nearby, they went to his house to continue the session in greater comfort. By contrast, at the 2016 British Society for Rheumatology Annual Conference over 200 rheumatologists showed an interest and attended the multiple sessions about Vasculitis.

Paul (centre) in his garden sitting with colleagues on the “BILAG” bench, which had been presented to him

Paul (centre) in his garden sitting with colleagues on the “BILAG” bench, which had been presented to him

Prof Paul Bacon was cremated and buried in a private ceremony for family and close friends. However there will be a memorial service on either Monday 11th or Monday 18th June (before or after EULAR) to be held in Birmingham, where his many colleagues will recount their memories of him and celebrate the legacy of this legend of British Rheumatology. The memorial will also act as the launch of the Paul Bacon Memorial fund to support the costs of hosting visiting fellows that come to UK Rheumatology centres.

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