Remembering Mr Barry Fearn, TD FRCS

Barry FearnThose who were present will know that the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra dedicated their performance of the Brahms Requiem on Sunday 6 November 2016 to the memory of Mr Barry Fearn, TD FRCS, who sadly died earlier that week.

Mr Fearn was a longstanding supporter of the orchestra. A Friend of the Phil since the 1970s, he was for many years a Patron, and more recently had become a regular sponsor of two orchestral chairs.


His friend Dr John Rees writes: “Mr Barry Fearn, who played a major part in the life of Mid Sussex and Brighton for over four decades, died recently.

The son of a dentist, he was educated at Shrewsbury School, Cambridge and St Mary’s Hospital in London. He did his National Service as medical officer to the Royal Irish Fusiliers in Germany and then Tripoli, where he met his wife Gay. He was later seconded to Khartoum where he spent a year.

His surgical training was largely at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, regarded by Barry and many others as a mecca for aspiring orthopaedic surgeons. When he was appointed to the then Cuckfield Hospital and the Brighton Hospitals in 1972, he was one of only two orthopaedic surgeons at Cuckfield and three in Brighton. This meant that he might well be on duty for emergencies in both places; there are now 30 orthopaedic consultants between both centres.

I can remember an occasion when Paul Tortelier was the guest soloist that Mr Fearn (who always had an aisle seat), had to leave during the concert to attend to a hang-glider who had crashed and was seriously injured.

Over the years he became very involved with the development of trauma and orthopaedics, especially in Brighton and particularly as joint replacement took over the specialty. He was a thoughtful and careful surgeon with a very enquiring mind.

He became very interested in teaching and became a major figure in the South East Orthopaedic Training Programme. There are many orthopaedic surgeons in the UK and abroad who have been trained by Barry Fearn. He founded a local orthopaedic charity known as the Sprint Fund.

Barry was at various times orthopaedic surgeon both to Brighton & Hove Albion FC and to Sussex County Cricket Club. He had rowed for his school and his college at Cambridge and kept up this interest over many years; he also played a significant part in the Territorial Army for which he was awarded the Territorial Decoration.

His main interests outside medicine lay in the Arts and his knowledge was encyclopaedic. He was a major Friend and sponsor of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra over four decades. He sponsored the Cor Anglais for many years in addition to the Bassoon more recently – he also refurbished the angelic trumpets in front of the Dome organ baffles.

He was a keen supporter of the Hanover Band especially when it was based in Hove.

Barry’s greatest love however was opera and he was an enthusiastic supporter of Glyndebourne and the Christies over many decades. He was a very regular visitor both to Covent Garden and the ENO.

He leaves his wife Gay, four children and 10 grandchildren.”

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