A FAMILY has travelled to York from America to celebrate the life of an eminent pathologist - and thank a York charity which helped set him on his professional career.

Former York schoolboy Walter Coulson died, aged 91, earlier this year in America, where he was a former Chief of Surgical Pathology at UCLA - the University of California Los Angeles - and was in demand as a visiting pathologist, lecturer and researcher around the world.

But his family has revealed how it was only thanks to the York-based Educational Charities of John Dodsworth that he was able to continue his studies at a York school as a teenager, enabling him to go on to university and become a pathologist.

His daughter Wendy said he was brought up in Harrogate and then York, where in those days children left school at about 14 and went to work to contribute money to the family. "This was my father's lot," she said.

However, she said the headmaster at his school, Nunthorpe, not only noticed his brilliance, but hatched a plan to continue his education.

"One evening, at 23 Victor Street, the small family residence (in Bishophill) where my father lived with his grandparents, parents, and siblings, there was a knock at the door."

She said it was the master, who wanted to make an unprecedented arrangement allowing him to continue his schooling in exchange for full wages to be given to the family by the charity.

"Dad went on to flourish and excel at high school and medical school, competing for and winning scholarships all along the way."

She said that after achieving a First Class Honours degree in pathology at Edinburgh, and subsequently serving in the RAF, he emigrated to America, where he edited and contributed to a new standard textbook for surgical pathology and received a research scholarship at Yale University Medical School.

Now Wendy, her brother Andrew and sister Victoria, and Walter's widow Molly, have travelled from the USA to York to attend a memorial ceremony held on Saturday at the York Marriott Hotel, at which they

handed a cheque for £1,000 to charity secretary Brenda Christison. Wendy said the donation had also come from his other two children, Thomas and Laura, who were unable to come over.

She said the family wanted to recognise the charity for the 'astounding impact' it had had on her father's life and Molly also expressed her deep gratitude for the charity.

Brenda Christison said she was moved to hear how much the charity had helped Walter, and said it still made small grants, mainly to assist students attending university.