Paediatrician and chairman of the Scottish Cot Death Trust

Born: July 20, 1943;

Died: January 30, 2018

JOHN Pender McClure, who has died aged 74, was a distinguished paediatrician and a former medical director of the North Ayrshire and Arran Trust. He was also an early member of the Scottish Cot Death Trust and its chairman from 2002 until his death.

He was born in Glasgow but brought up in Auchinleck, where his father was a GP. He attended the local schools, leaving Cumnock Academy in 1960 to study medicine at Glasgow University, from which he graduated in 1966.

He had a stammer from an early age with which he coped well. An unsympathetic senior colleague suggested that the stammer would best fit John for a career in laboratory medicine. Fortunately, he ignored this advice or Ayrshire would have lost an excellent paediatrician.

He did his house jobs in Falkirk Royal Infirmary where he met his wife, Jean, who was a sister there. They remained married for 48 years. Looking for subsequent jobs, he tried to ask one of the Falkirk consultants for his advice on jobs elsewhere. His query was misinterpreted and he was offered a job in Falkirk which he was too polite to refuse.

For a few years, he joined his father's GP practice but his heart was in paediatrics and he joined the training programme at the RHSC in Glasgow before becoming a consultant in Ayrshire in 1974. It was in the days when peripheral consultants were thin on the ground. Dr McClure was no stranger to hard work and to making himself available, to the extent that he bought a house 200 yards from his main base at Seafield Hospital in Ayr.

He and his colleagues had to deal with many changes to the paediatric service. First, the general services were relocated to two purpose built units within general hospitals in Crosshouse and Ayr, before they were consolidated to a single site at Crosshouse. Later, the neonatal unit was transferred along with the maternity unit from Irvine to Crosshouse.

The political machinations involved in many of these changes gave Dr McClure a taste for medical management and he accepted the role of medical director of the North Ayrshire and Arran Trust in 1992, subsequently becoming deputy medical director of an enlarged Ayrshire trust. Medical directors had to make unpopular decisions and could easily make enemies but Dr McClure's even handedness made him more friends than enemies.

He was a general paediatrician but had interests in several fields. One was cystic fibrosis, from which sufferers often died young. Dr McClure's care included attending their funerals - a true cradle to grave service. Another interest was in the foetal alcohol syndrome. When Rangers and Celtic changed their sponsor from a double glazing firm to a brewery, he was heard to regretfully remark that no one had ever become addicted to double glazing.

His third interest was in cot deaths. The Scottish Cot Death Trust, of which he was chairman, is hosting an international symposium in Glasgow in June 2018, which John McClure would have been sad to miss.

Aside from work, he was a keen family man - devoted to his wife, three daughters and six grandchildren, as they were to him. He was also a talented vegetable gardener. He had a house and a boat in Corrie on Arran where he, Jean and the family could unwind from the stresses of work on the mainland.

He was awarded an MBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours List for his clinical and his charitable work. Although ill, he took great pleasure in his trip to Buckingham Palace late in 2017, to receive his award from Prince William.