Nigel Gray AO
In the weeks before he died, Nigel Gray was honoured at the World Cancer Congress, drove his beloved Singer in a hill climb (complaining that he failed to beat his best time by one second), flew in a Tiger Moth biplane, played nine holes of golf with former British Open champion Peter Thomson, updated his jazz playlist, and wrote emails to be sent after his death to close friends and colleagues. He was a heroic figure who lived life to the full and made remarkable contributions to national and global health.
Originally a paediatrician, Nigel was Director of Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) from 1968 to 1995 and President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) from 1994 to 1998, before an active post-retirement career with the European Institute of Oncology and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Nigel transformed CCV from a respected medical charity into one of Australia’s most prominent health organisations. He supported research and researchers such as Donald Metcalf, understood the need for cancer-relevant population data, started evidence-based public education on cancer (including the Slip! Slop! Slap! skin cancer campaign), pressed for more and better cancer services, and took the influence of cancer organisations to new levels. He was also instrumental in the development of clinical oncology and nurtured the network of specialists that became CCV’s Clinical Network.