PROFESSOR Gavin C. Arneil, a Helensburgh resident for 40 years and a leading light in paediatric medicine, has died aged 94.

A founding member of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Mr Arneil died on January 21.

Born in Glasgow in 1923, his father was a senior lecturer and mother an infant teacher.

He attended Jordanhill College School and from 1940-45 was a medical student at Glasgow University, while he also served in the Home Guard for the duration of the Second World War.

He served as a major in the Royal Army Medical Corps for three years, but it was in the field of paediatrics that he reached the peak of his achievements, coming to be regarded as one of the most famous children’s doctors in the world.

Beginning his work in the profession in 1944, he rose from houseman to become a professor and an honorary consultant at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow before retiring from hospital work – but not from child health – in 1988.

By the time of his retirement he was deeply involved in international child health and after decades of hard work rose to be president of the International Paediatric Association – the only British doctor to hold the post in the IPA’s first 100 years.

His work included travel to more than 50 countries, many with severe problems, to help and advise. These included many countries behind the Cold War’s Iron Curtain, Nigeria during the Biafran war, Kampuchean camps, Bosnia during the Balkan conflict, as well as old countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, Korea, China, Cote D’Ivoire, Uganda, Brazil and Malaya and younger ones including Uzbekistan, Khazakstan and Kyrgyzstan.

He eased out of child health activity after his 80th birthday in 2004, but continued to be deeply interested in the field.

A doctor in triplicate – in medicine, science and philosophy – he received many honours abroad and at home, including the Nobel medal of the Swedish Medical Association and, in 1983, the St Mungo Prize of the City of Glasgow, at the time awarded only every three years, and numerous honorary awards from professional institutions in Britain and around the world.

Away from his work he was known for his good sense of humour and his passions for sailing, golf and gardening, quoting Burns and writing poetry. He once imported wine, and on one occasion successfully treated a sick chimp in the circus at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall.

In the 1950s he tackled, and solved, the problem of toddler rickets in Glasgow. Two decades later, rickets appeared in the city’s Pakistani adolescents – a difficult problem to tackle because of communication – but Gavin had a cartoon dubbed in Urdu and Hindi to educate non-English speakers, shown between the main films for immigrants in the Cosmo cinema, and with invaluable help from Dr Krishna Goel, also a Helensburgh resident, and Dr M.G. Dunnigan, the problem in Glasgow was solved long before other cities did so.

Along with Dr Margaret Kerr and Professor J. Hutchison, Gavin pioneered BCG vaccinations for Glasgow children, and in the space of eight years, pre-school tuberculosis, previously a common problem, virtually disappeared.

Throughout the decades at Yorkhill he treated more than 30,000 children in his ward, and thousands more as outpatients, saving the lives of many children suffering from kidney disease. He also chaired the committee which commissioned the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children, ercognised across the globe as one of the world’s top hospitals, in 1971 – with the valuable help of another Helensburgh resident, the hospital’s matron, Miss Olive Hume.

He was a joint founder in 1983 of the Yorkhill Children’s Trust, and jointly edited a 1500-page textbook on postgraduate paediatrics which has now had seven editions – and was even published in pirate form in the Far East.

He is survived by his widow June, daughter Marion and grandsons Duncan and Lewis.