Skip to main content

Dr Philippa Coales


It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr Philippa Coales. Philippa graduated from Bath School of Physiotherapy in 1981 and worked in the profession until her untimely death. As a clinical therapist she worked in Droitwich, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bristol and Swindon, progressing to become a specialist in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. Philippa broadened her expertise by also treating animals, demonstrated by her work with racing greyhounds in Swindon.

Philippa loved both dogs and horses, owning them for most of her life and certainly had many fun stories to share.  She managed to successfully combine her own passion for horses with being an active supporter, for over 20 years, of Ceffyl Du Carriage Driving for the Disabled for which she kindly used her own horse (Storm) and went onto to become a qualified coach and Trustee.  Many members obtained great pleasure from this and the group has been devastated by the news of her death.   Philippa was involved for many years with supporting the Burghley horse trials as part of the team of physiotherapists (for riders).

Philippa also supported sporting events, both as a practitioner and supervising students. This included being part of Team Wales physiotherapy support at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. Indeed, she continued to support sport in many ways, for example sports massage for the Cardiff Half Marathon, and examining for sports massage exams as part of Sports Performance Services. However, she also dedicated her own time to helping those in disadvantaged situations globally, demonstrated by her trip to Belarus in 2000 in order to support a student led initiative to provide on-going help to an orphanage in Minsk. The staff team carried out risk assessments and developed a training programme for future student cohorts.

Philippa continued to enhance her professional development throughout her career obtaining (amongst other qualifications) her MMACP; an MSc; a Postgraduate Certificate in Education; a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Ergonomics; and finally, last year, a PhD (the topic of her thesis being occupational spinal pain).

In 1994, Philippa commenced employment with Cardiff University, and since then has played a key role in the education of both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Throughout her employment she had many roles, clinical coordinator and subject lead as well as developing and implementing a postgraduate MACP programme. However, Philippa continued to support and advise on other programmes outside Wales, being an external examiner for Plymouth University, the University for the West of England, and Manchester Metropolitan University.  Philippa was a member of the CSP Welsh Board and MACP Committees. She published and presented at conferences, mainly in her specialist area of back pain, both in the UK and internationally.

There have been many kind messages flooding in regarding Philippa’s untimely death however none have summed it up better than saying “she was one in a million”.  We will miss Philippa enormously, and send our love and thoughts to her partner, family and friends.

Cardiff University Physiotherapy Team