Camden News
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 14 August 2008

Cecil Todes
Doctor fought Parkinson’s and apartheid

CECIL Todes, who has died aged 77, was a successful child psychiatrist who fought a long battle against Parkinson’s disease.
The doctor, who worked at Anna Freud’s child therapy clinic in Hampstead, was diagnosed with the progressive illness aged 39 – he had noticed his hands were trembling at his daughters fourth birthday party.
He then began a long search for a cure.
His determination to try as many different treatments as possible led him to try unproven treatments, which ranged from traditional drug therapies through to acupuncture and faddish diets.
In 1988 he had an operation that transplanted foetal brain cells, a procedure that did not seem to work. His close friend, the doctor and author Oliver Sacks, was often on hand to offer advice and insight into the latest thinking on treating people with degenerative brain diseases.
He took early retirement aged 57 but carried on seeing patients privately at home.
Mr Todes was born in South Africa, the son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. He trained as a dentist in the early 1950s and then travelled to England, disgusted with the apartheid regime.
He retrained as a doctor and headed to the United States, working in Boston and Harvard. He also took on a junior post in a New York mental health clinic. It was while working there that he befriended Lili Loebl, a German-born reporter for the magazine Newsweek. The couple married in 1964.
They returned to London in the mid-1960s and Cecil began working at the Tavistock Clinic in Hampstead and then the Hampstead child therapy clinic, run by Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud.
He and his wife became friends with the Camden Town-based author Beryl Bainbridge. Beryl had a flat in Arkwright Road, Hampstead, and when Cecil and Lili moved back to London, they took it on.
She said: “I moved to Devon for a time and they moved into Arkwright Road. When I came back to London we became very friendly. They were a very interesting couple and we had children who were the same age.
“He was a wonderful man to be around, he was a very academic and culturally rich. “He was so interested in life. He wrote a super book about his work and beliefs.
“He adored music. He listened to it all the time, and encouraged his children to play instruments. He had a family of musicians.”
He was had deeply-held political beliefs and despised the apartheid system.
Ms Bainbridge added: “He was very much in favour of getting rid of the regime.”
Dan Carrier

Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)





» Obituaries A-Z


Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions