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Dr Colin William Thomas Keen


We sadly announce the death of Dr Colin Keen, who died peacefully in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk with his wife and five children beside him.

Colin attended medical school at The London Hospital, where he met the love of his life Jean Sparrow at a hospital dance. After graduating with his medical degree, he served for three years in the RAF with a posting to Hong Kong, where he served as a medical officer and Flight Lieutenant. He was a member of the Mountain Rescue Team and led it from 1961 to 1963, participating in many difficult and often dangerous rescues.


11th of November 1934 to 23rd of

After leaving the service, Colin and Jean and their two young children returned to the UK where he qualified as a Radiation Oncologist, before accepting a position as a Senior Medical Officer and later Senior Radiotherapist at the Queensland Radium Institute in Brisbane, Australia from 1965-1971. Colin continued his travels with his intrepid family and in 1971 he took a position as a Radiation Oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada. In 1980 the family returned to the UK, where Colin worked as a Consultant in Clinical Oncology at Velindre Hospital near Cardiff, Wales.

In 1991 Colin was appointed Medical Director at the new Mid-Kent Oncology Centre, where he oversaw the building of a new centre of excellence for cancer patients. After the opening of the centre in 1993, Colin continued to take charge of the running of the facility and worked tirelessly towards the establishment of the Kent Cancer Centre in 1998. During this period, he also took on the role as the Clinical Director, Clinical Sciences at Maidstone Hospital (1993-1996) and later served as Medical Director from 1996-1999.

Colin retired in November 1999 and settled in Essex and finally Suffolk, only a few miles from where Jean was born and raised. He was able to spend his retirement exploring those hobbies that his busy medical career left little time for, including sailing and gaining a university qualification in astronomy. He also volunteered his time with Samaritans Crisis Line and The Heart of Kent Hospice.

All who met Colin were impressed by his intellect, kindness and thoughtful attitude, which he showed throughout his career to both patients and colleagues. His gentlemanly behaviour continued right to the end and was remarked on by many of the caring staff at St. Peter's House, Bury St. Edmunds, who provided him with dignity, compassion and support in his final days. He will be dearly missed by his loving family and friends, including his wife of more than 65 years, Jean, his 5 children and their spouses and his 9 grandchildren.

Memoir author: Fiona M Browning