City shocked by death of beloved doctor Godlonton

2015-06-24 10:25
Doctor John Godlonton will be remembered fondly by the Pietermaritzburg community for his contributions to the medical and sports world.

Doctor John Godlonton will be remembered fondly by the Pietermaritzburg community for his contributions to the medical and sports world. (Supplied)

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A LOSS to the medical and sporting worlds. The Pietermaritzburg community learnt with great sadness yesterday of the death of Comrades and Duzi doctor John Godlonton.

The well-loved Edendale Hospital paediatrician died on Monday night at his home in Grahamstown from a suspected stroke. His death has left Pietermaritzburg with fond memories of his work.

Remembered for his many contributions to society, Godlonton was a ­paediatrician specialist at Edendale, teaching and guiding many doctors all over the country.

In 1976, when Godlonton saw a friend rushed to ICU from the Comrades finish line and realised the hospital visit could have been prevented with a single intravenous drip, he decided to set up a medical tent for the 1977 Comrades.

Current Comrades doctor Jeremy Boulter said he was an intern under Godlonton at Edendale hospital in 1979, when Godlonton asked him to volunteer at the Comrades medical tent.

“He was absolutely wonderful and an amazing teacher,” said Boulter.

“He had a wonderful sense of humour, was a great speaker and was very insightful. He also started the medical tent at the Dusi Marathon.”

Boulter said Godlonton’s work did not stop there, as he also volunteered his medical expertise at school rugby matches in the early 80s.

Dusi Marathon organiser Brett Austen Smith said they were saddened by the loss of such a “passionate man”.

“He was the epitome of the whole volunteer call and the driving force of getting doctors to volunteer for the Dusi and other sports.”

Dusi committee chairperson Cameron Mckenzie said Godlonton would be missed by many and was “the last of the true volunteers and a true gentleman”.

Godlonton’s wife, Mary, said although he did not excel at sport, he had a great passion for it.

“He also had a great love for music and had a great time starring in the Pig and Whistle productions.

“He always made people laugh. People always remember him as the man in the pink tutu.”

Mary said the doctor contributed greatly to raising awareness of rabies, and created a handbook on rabies with his colleague George Bishop.

She said people from all over the country would call him and ask for his advice and describe symptoms to him and then he would tell them if they should go to hospital or not.

“He had lots of friends, he was a fun person. He was just great.”

Close friend of Godlonton, Koos Marais, said Godlonton was a “tremendous friend” and a huge help on the rugby field.

“I was a rugby referee and I never had any concerns about player injuries because I knew he was on the sidelines.”

Marais said the doctor was an “amazing person” and was always at rugby matches with him no matter the weather.

“Nothing was ever too much for him,” he said.

Details for the memorial and funeral service for Godlonton will be released tomorrow

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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