Former health campaigner ‘had touched many lives’

Dick van Steenis with his two grandchildren
Dick van Steenis with his two grandchildren

TRIBUTES have been paid after the death of a former GP who worked to improve public health.

Health campaigner Dick van Steenis worked as the clinical assistant in oncology at St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, and lived in Barnham from 1973 until 1989. He died on Monday, aged 78.

His son, Huw van Steenis, said: “Dick touched many lives and continued to have active contact with patients long after he retired. After retiring as a GP, he remained very active in public service as an expert witness and health campaigner.

“He became one of the UK’s leading authorities into the health effects of environmental pollution. As an expert witness, he helped overturn over two dozen public inquiries and as a campaigner he sought new standards to reduce industrial pollution.”

One of his major studies came in 1994 when he used the simple device of mapping the use of asthma inhalers by primary school children to look at the health effects of pollution from power stations in south Wales.

He was convinced industrial pollution was behind the prevalence of childhood asthma in the UK and lung disease and cancer in adults. He was also the Dispensing Doctors’ Association’s vice chairman from 1986-1990.

Dick van Steenis was born on September 2, 1934, in Eindhoven, Holland and much of his education was in Australia where his family lived.

After moving to the UK, he lived with his family in Oving for many years and is survived by his second wife, Christine, and a son and a daughter.

A service of thanksgiving is being held at 1.30pm next Thursday at Wyesham Christian Fellowship Centre in Wyesham, Monmouth.