Timothy R. Morley (Hl 57) 

20 February 2024

Tim Morley FRCS enjoyed a distinguished career as an orthopaedic surgeon of international renown.  As his son, Mark, reflects, “After achieving Victor ludorum and some measure of academic success at Wellington, he clearly must have enjoyed his time at Cambridge and medical school because he qualified from one with a Third and the other only on the third attempt but he then went on to become a rather brilliant and accomplished surgeon. He was innovative and passionate about his profession and absolutely committed to both the principle and practice of the NHS, though he was sorely tested at times. My father came from a generation more sensitive to the importance of kindness, compassion and generosity in dealings with their fellow man and he exercised those attributes to the full. He adored his wife, family and friends and was selfless and generous in those relationships. He was terrific fun but suffered from an almost irresistible urge to pursue a potential wind up – especially so if he detected any pride or pretence in his chosen victim. 

His commitment to fiscal austerity and his fascination with tinkering is legendary within the family. We have fond(ish) memories of his appearance at breakfast in a favourite get-up of skin-tight red t-shirt with the word ‘superman’ plastered across his chest, a pair of equally ill-fitting and faded cords and his blue suede shoes – ready to take on the day. He did have the most extraordinary dress sense and counted as a badge of honour that his collection of ties rarely cost more than a couple of quid each and that his shirts were always bought in a sale.” 

On leaving Cambridge, Tim Morley spent time at the RNOH as a registrar, then as a consultant at King’s College Hospital before returning full-time to the RNOH. He was a spinal surgeon not driven by, or interested in, money, working mainly for the NHS. He was a master craftsman and a technician revered by his colleagues and regularly went to Chailey Heritage, a home for disabled children, and operated on those with deformity at Stanmore. 

A colleague and lifelong friend recalls that, in 1971, Tim embarked on what was to be a 40-year romance with the island of Malta following a political upheaval which left the island without a scoliosis surgeon. He went out to Malta each year and his time there culminated with the award of the National Order of Malta, the highest award for a non-Maltese citizen. Morley loved his work, and gave many years’ work for no remuneration. 

Tim and wife, Mary, were for 50 years members of the Orthopaedic Society whose chairman, The Wizard, chose the venue for the OS get-together. The Morleys always chose islands for venues: Malta, Cyprus, IoW, Scillies. Other Wizards chose more exotic venues: New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe etc., which were toured by minibus and not without incident and adventure. 

Tim’s two sporting loves were shooting and sailing, especially in Greek waters, though he sailed the Atlantic on multiple occasions and he skied and sailed well into his eighties.  

A final word from son Mark, “We loved him for his strength of character, his fundamental decency and honesty, and his love and pride in his family and friends.”