Date of death: 04 June 1990
Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1977
Ronald Illingworth began his career as a clinical pathologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street after attaining his medical training at Leeds University. He served in the RAMC with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Second World War, after which he took up the Rockefeller Research Fellowship and spent six months in New Haven, USA, with Dr. Arnold Gesell. It was there he became interested in developmental paediatrics and later was largely responsible for introducing to paediatricians to the UK. In 1947, he was appointed to the Chair of Child Health in the University of Sheffield, and held this position for 28 years until his retirement. Over these years Sheffield Hospital was partly rebuilt and it became a centre for teaching and research, and it was for being an excellent lecturer that Professor Illingworth was awarded the Medal.
His high standard of teaching was due to his enjoyment of the subject, and his writing was concise and of a high quality, and concerned social, educational and historical areas of child health. He gained the greatest satisfaction from talking to parents about their children and was a keen photographer and had a huge collection of teaching slides dealing with child development and paediatric neurology.