Averil Mansfield is a retired vascular surgeon and was the first female Professor of Surgery in the UK when she was appointed in 1993.
She was born in 1937 in Blackpool, where her father worked as a welder on the attractions at the Pleasure Beach. She was an only child and an avid reader when young. After perusing a library book on early advances in surgery, she decided, at the age of eight, that she wanted to become a surgeon. She studied at the University of Liverpool and spent her early working life in the city. Appointed a consultant surgeon in 1972, she moved to London eight years later with her second husband. She became a consultant vascular surgeon at St Mary’s Hospital in 1982 and remained there until her retirement in 2002.
One of the leading vascular surgeons in the country in the 1990s, she was a key figure in proving the safety of vital life-saving vascular operations: the stroke-preventing carotid endarterectomy, an intricate procedure to unblock the carotid artery, and surgery to repair a thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm. These surgeries have helped save thousands of lives by reducing the risk of strokes by 50%.
In the early 1990s, she set up an initiative called Women in Surgical Training to encourage more women to take up the profession. In addition to becoming the first female Professor of Surgery in Britain, she was also the first elected Chairman of the Court of Examiners at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, served as Chair of the Stroke Association for five years following her retirement, and as President of the British Medical Association.
She lives in London and has three step-children and six grandchildren from her late husband.
DISC ONE: II. Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich, conducted by Steven Sloane, performed by Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin
DISC TWO: A Transport of Delight by Donald Swann & Michael Flanders
DISC THREE: Piano Concerto No. 2in B Flat. Op.83 – 3. Andante – Piu adagio by Johannes Brahms, conducted by Andris Nelsons, performed by Hélène Grimaud (piano) and The Vienna Philharmonic
DISC FOUR: Farewell to Stromness by Peter Maxwell Davies
DISC FIVE: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1 in G minor K478: Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Daniel Barenboim (piano) Kian Soltani (cello) Michael Barenboim (violin) Yulia Deyneka (viola)
DISC SIX: Pavane, Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier, performed by BBC Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
DISC SEVEN: Dancing Queen by Abba, performed by Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and Meryl Streep
DISC EIGHT: "Schwanengesang", Ständchen by Franz Schubert, performed by Peter Schreier (tenor) and András Schiff (piano)
BOOK CHOICE: A book of poetry
LUXURY ITEM: A grand piano
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Piano Concerto No. 2in B Flat. Op.83 – 3. Andante – Piu adagio by Johannes Brahms, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Performed by Hélène Grimaud (piano) and The Vienna Philharmonic
Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale