Bob – My Bowels and Me….



I am an academic in my mid-sixties, teaching and researching at the University of Oxford and before that I held a senior position in the NHS. I have suffered from Crohn’s Disease since I was 16 and have in the intervening years, have had to endure major surgery on several occasions, as well as continuous bad health and a great amount of pain. I have had an (often troublesome) ileostomy for just under forty years. However, as age creeps up, it is the type 2 diabetes and the arthritis that confronts me every day.

 As a sufferer of a serious bowel disorder, I believe that it is important to reach out and help others with the same problems. My experience and skills has led me to be a Trustee and now Secretary of the BDRF. My dearest wish is to see in my lifetime the causes and a cure of Crohn’s Disease. It is not impossible.


Why do you support Bowel Disease Research Foundation?

Because I know that the research it funds will make a difference for people like me.

What makes you happy?

Excavating a Minoan cemetery on Crete.

 What is your greatest fear?

Of the government destroying the NHS.

What is your most treasured possession?

My library.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

With Dickie Attenborough no longer with us, I would flatter myself by suggesting the comedian Dave Gorman.

Which book changed your life?

The Bull of Minos by Leonard Cottrell that at the age of 12, influenced my love and eventual career in the archaeology of the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

An archaeologist – and achieved it.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?

“Howzat” – followed by the finger of the umpire pointing upwards, when on 49.

 Which living person do you most admire, and why

Ken Loach, the film director and activist.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

An ileostomy bag that does not cause me problems. (Do you want to hear my leak stories?)

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Becoming a professor after only a few years into a second career.

Further Reading

Read Steve’s story

Read Azmina’s story

Read more about our Delphi Campaign 

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