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Colourful life of brain-op pioneer

Reporter: Marina Berry
Date online: 27 August 2010

ONE of Britain’s first woman brain surgeons, Carys Bannister, has died at the age of 76.

Miss Bannister was the region’s first female neurosurgeon, and operated on Oldham children and adults both at North Manchester General Hospital and Booth Hall Children’s Hospital.

She was appointed in the mid-1970s and specialised in treating children with spina bifida and other neurosurgical conditions.

She later worked at Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary before retiring nine years ago.

She told the Chronicle in an interview when she worked at Booth Hall that neurosurgery was her job, her hobby and her life.

She dedicated her life to her patients, with the pressures of staying at the top of her field forcing her to give up any thought of marriage and children of her own.

Raised in Brazil, she came to England with her family when she was 15, and was awarded the OBE in 1999 for services to neurosurgery in Manchester.

One of her colleagues, neurosurgeon Bob Woodwards, paid tribute to a woman whose life was filled with contrasts.

“Her work as a neurosurgeon, with a particular interest in the care of children, required enormous dexterity and precision.”

Miss Bannister died last Friday in Pendleside Hospice, Burnley, and a service to celebrate her life will be held at St Mary’s Church, Rawtenstall, on Friday, September 3, at 3pm.


what a wounderful lady she was she saved my fathers life in the 70s with an operation that had never been done before god bless R.I.P.

Miss Bannister saved my life in 1980. She operated on my brain when I was 24 hours old and was born with congenital hydrocephalus. It was a new operation at the time and she was one of the first people in the country to perform it. I feel priveliged to have been born in the area in which she practiced. I am now 30 years old with a great life which I owe to Miss Bannister. Always in my thoughts RIP.


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