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John Potts


Dr John Potts who was born in Lier, Belgium, qualified BDS from Manchester dental school in 1972, also completing an intercalated BSc gaining a double first and winning the Charles Henry Preston prize awarded to the top dental student. Having trained in pathology and gaining his FRCPath, he worked in Birmingham dental hospital and school until he moved to Cardiff in 1992 to take up an appointment as a senior lecturer/consultant in oral pathology. Here he worked for many years single-handed for pathology teaching and diagnostic services, as well as contributing to oral medicine clinics.

As an oral pathologist, Dr Potts supported clinical services and played a crucial role in the care of many thousands of patients, his diagnosis being crucial to the management of those with the most serious orofacial diseases.

In addition to his enthusiasm as a teacher, John played a key role in providing clinical and technical input to the digitisation of services in the Dental Hospital and School, overseeing the introduction of computers to all clinical areas. He was instrumental in introducing the SALUD and LIFT-UP systems in the clinics.

For many years John chaired the library committee and until recently played a crucial role in ensuring that the library and study facilities in Cardiff Dental Hospital and School were amongst the most comprehensive in the UK.

John was one of six founder members of the British Society for Oral Medicine, along with two other Cardiff dental school staff – Brian Cooke and Murray Walker. The first meeting of the newly-formed BSOM was held at the Royal Dental Hospital in 1981, and the following year in Cardiff. The society was pleased to be able recognise John’s contributions to oral medicine and the society by awarding him an Honorary Fellowship at the BSOM annual scientific meeting held in Cardiff in 2016.

He was an external examiner for other dental schools and for a period of time covered oral pathology reporting for another dental hospital in addition to his role in Cardiff.

He was a lifelong Manchester United supporter managing to get to see them one final time in early 2020, although he would watch any sport. In his youth he played hockey for his school and university as well as then staff/student games at Birmingham University. He also enjoyed squash, mountain climbing and was part of Kendal Mountain Search and Rescue Team. He was a keen walker and remained a member of a local walking group with Angus his dog until the first lockdown. Several members of staff have mentioned that he mentored them from being students onwards to being consultants themselves and how kind and supportive he was towards them.

Dr Potts continued working for Cardiff University Dental Hospital and School after the on-set of serious illness, illness which he fought valiantly and with spirit, joining with online meetings until recent weeks.

He is survived by his wife Kay, and children Lindsay and Christopher (Alison died in 2014).