Mike Cawdery – a tribute

It is not often you are passed such terrible news. But sadly, Mike Cawdery, a regular and highly impressive contributor to this blog, was murdered along with his wife, on the 26th of May.

‘The devastated family of an elderly couple murdered in their home on Friday say they are struggling to understand what has happened. Michael and Marjorie Cawdery, both aged 83, were the victims of a brutal knife attack leaving them both with fatal injuries.

A family spokesperson said: “The awful and incomprehensible events of Friday 26 May have deprived our family of two wonderful people Michael and Marjorie who were our father, mother, brother, sister and grandparents. “We thank the police for their prompt response and professional actions. We also thank everyone who has expressed sympathy in whatever way and offered help.”

Mr Cawdery, a retired veterinary surgeon who trained at Trinity College Dublin, and his wife Marjorie, were attacked in their home and died at the scene.’ http://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/marjorie-michael-cawdreys-family-say-13101196

I found out about this from his GP, who was kind enough to e-mail this news. He knew that Mike posted comments to this blog on a very regular basis, and he thought that I should know what had happened. Thank goodness, he did, otherwise I would have had no idea. I would have simply wondered why Mike Cawdery, our statistician par excellence, had fallen silent. [In truth, other people have since, e-mailed me with the news].

I never met him, I never spoke to him, but I believe that I – and other readers of this blog- knew him well. He seemed ferociously intelligent, and still driven to do what he thought was right. I felt he was an admirable man. Funny how the Internet brings people together into a ‘family’ that converses and argues and supports and occasionally falls out.

In the last month, Mike Cawdery posted 117 comments on the blog, all of them were worth reading. Here was one of his last ever posts.

‘May I plead with you all to keep a watch on the BMJ and to use their RAPID RESPONSE system just as one uses Dr Kendrick’s comment section. Many of the comments and references cited here are equally valid on some relevant editorials, news items and even reports. All one has to do is give name and rough address and answer a question or two. Open to all including doctors.

May I take this opportunity to suggest that any one, a patient, carer and particularly doctors as the ultimate carers sign up as “patient reviewers”. Interesting and gets patients and carers involved. Too long have patients been treated little better than pets (may be with less respect??). It is people like Dr Kendrick that have given patients an outlet to express their views and knowledge.’

At 83, he was still active, still getting involved, and still trying to make the world a better place. Mike, you will be missed, by us all.

93 thoughts on “Mike Cawdery – a tribute

  1. Christopher Palmer

    Isn’t it such a brutal world we humans have created, tolerate, or must other wise endure . . . very sad news indeed.

    Reply
  2. Jean Humphreys

    Having seen the headline about a horrible double murder in Ireland, I totally failed to register the names of the victims. What can any of us say except to offer our condolences to the family and close friends, and also say that we all will feel the loss as the erudite and pertinent comments we have become accustomed to strangely fail to appear.
    Everyone loses.

    Reply
  3. Martin Back

    What dreadful news. I’m shocked beyond words. Mike was so knowledgeable yet sensible and down to earth. I always read his comments with care and attention because he knew what he was talking about and had a clear and disinterested view of the medical and pharmaceutical world.

    Reply
  4. Sylvia

    What terrible news. He is irreplacable, such a valued contributor and I am sure a lovely person, which came across in his posts. His family must be heartsick. All my good wishes to them at such an awful time, to lose them in such a way will take some healing.
    And you Dr Kendrick, you must also feel the loss dreadfully. What an awful world we see sometimes, there is no sense to it. RIP dear man and your wife.

    Reply
  5. Lynda Morgan

    Hard to find appropriate words for such a cruel act. I always feel privileged to read Malcolm’s wise words, and to read the comments here from thoughtful people who care about honesty and accuracy. Of course we will all die, but how awful that one of our community has been killed so viciously. Sincere condolences to Mike’s family.

    Reply
  6. Marilyn Schroeder

    Senseless deaths. So shocking for their family and friends and obviously a huge loss for this forum too. Condolences to all connected with Mike and his wife.

    Reply
  7. Mr Chris

    I saw the news with the name and hoped, unfortunately on vain, that it was not him and spouse.
    I certainly learnt a lot from him, and do not understand this senseless crime.

    Reply
  8. teedee126

    My most heartfelt condolences to Mike and Marjorie’s family. This is beyond shocking and something we will likely never comprehend. He was an articulate and compassionate human being who wanted to live his life as someone who made a difference in the lives of others, which he most certainly did.

    Reply
  9. anonymous

    This hurts a lot.
    It’s awful.
    My deepest condolences to their family and their friends.
    Let no one say that madness is a defence. Punishment is due, not for restitution, not for deterrance, but for Justice’s sake.
    I have been reading this blog for a two years, I’ve learned so much and Mike’s comments were always insightful. This is such an incommensurable loss. Rest in Peace, Michael and Marjorie.

    Reply
    1. David Bailey

      This is a really awful event – I shall greatly miss his contributions on this forum.

      Madness isn’t a defence, but neither does that excuse the fact that there don’t seem to be sufficient resources to detain and treat all those people who need it – according to reports, the killer was discharged from hospital earlier that day. All those who advocate spending NHS money on essentially useless therapies such as statins, should perhaps think about how that money could be better spent.

      RIP Mike

      Reply
      1. HotScot

        David Bailey

        First let me say, I have no words to express my feelings on this incident other than deep sorrow. Irrespective of who the victims are, in this case, highly educated, respected member of a local, national and internet community, it could have been any of us.

        Secondly, whilst our health resources, frequently cited as insufficient, apparently fail to support those with mental illnesses, the worst of it is, it fails the victims of those with mental illnesses who are violently inclined.

        This case has been highlighted because the victims were educated and respected. However, amongst those not so fortunate in life, this is a frequent occurrence. They rarely make the news.

        I will point out that, from the little I can gather from the reports into this, it seems the result of a deliberate and planned event, possibly a housebreaking.

        In my experience of the violently inclined, mentally ill; they rarely have the rational process to plan much beyond their next meal, never mind how to break into a house. And if they did, they would rarely know where to look for what they might imagine is valuable.

        In my opinion, this was perpetrated by someone hiding behind our generous welfare system to further their own ends.

        I wholly support campaigns to deal with mental illness; but I promise you, as a former police officer who regularly dealt with patients from Woodilee Hospital in Lenzie, (a suburb of Glasgow) far few genuinely mentally ill patients than are portrayed, exhibit violent tendencies beyond reaction to a personal, over zealous imposition of authority.

        I believe we are too quick to excuse the actions of nasty people, by them drawing the mentally ill card, at their convenience, which undermines the case for mentally ill people who genuinely need help.

        I believe we need to move away from our overly generous behaviour towards criminals. Send them to jail for punishment, then rehabilitate them afterwards. Shorter, harsher confinement, then genuine rehabilitation in the community. Jail should be a punishment, rehabilitation a privileged.

        Criminality is nothing more than extended adolescence.

        Without fail, every ‘non mental’ individual I apprehended in my career was an intellectual child, including those with impressive academic achievements.

        The most interesting conversations I had were with the ‘mentally ill’, none of whom proposed violence as a solution to anything. Which, perhaps, unwittingly shaped my questioning of statins, CHD and climate change.

        Colour me sceptical, but I was trained to be so.

        I am not a God fearing man, but if he exists, may he look after Michael and Marjorie Cawdery.

      2. David Bailey

        HotScot,

        I found the local newspaper reports of this awful incident, and these justified the interpretation that these killings were done by someone who was mentally deranged. The reports I read may or may not be correct, I do not know.

        However, I intended my comment to be totally uncontentious, and I hope you understand that I would rather not pursue this issue within this tribute to Mike Cowdery – or indeed on this blog, which is not about mental illness.

    2. Chancery Stone

      Madness is a defence, otherwise we wouldn’t have it as a defence. There’s no earthly point in punishing someone who effectively hasn’t a clue what they just did or why they did it, or worse, thinks they were ridding the world of Satan or some other delusion.

      If this double murder has been done by someone mentally ill then it is a terrible, ugly and pointless tragedy that could have been prevented b better medical care, which, as David Bailey says could be funded by not draining NHS funding on the many useless ‘fashions’ in treatment.

      Reply
  10. mmec7

    Such an atrocious crime. Sickening. Heartfelt condolences to family and friends of Michael and Marjorie Cawdrey. Mike will be so very sorely missed by Dr Kendrick and all here on Dr Kendrick’s blog. RIP you lovely people.

    Reply
  11. Stephen T

    After read Mike’s comments for over two years I just hoped and wondered if we might meet at the Public Health Collaboration conference in June. He still cared about other people and about right and wrong.

    A family has lost two loved ones and I express my condolences to them all.

    The world is a less intelligent place. May the perpetrator be brought swiftly to justice.

    Reply
  12. Clathrate

    Devastating. One of my joys of reading this blog is for comments. I loved it when scrolling down and coming across a new contribution from ‘mikecawdery’. My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Michael and Marjorie. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

    Reply
  13. Pat

    There’s no word to describe the shock that the family feels. For two elderly people to be attacked and murdered! For us who didn’t know them or the family it shocks us and you wonder what mentality is around these days that you aren’t safe in your home surroundings.

    Reply
  14. Lorraine Cleaver

    How utterly tragic. I enjoyed Mike’s contributions enormously, always provoked me to read further. Just this week I was asked to be a patient reviewer on a Hypothyroid paper for the BMJ. I swithered, was it worth the time and effort it would take or be dismissed out of hand by those who ‘know best’? I most definitely will heed Mike’s words and get involved now. Rest in Peace Mike.

    Reply
  15. JanC

    I am one of very many people, I’m sure, who follows your blog and reads most of the comments but never writes a comment myself. I have noticed the contributions made by Mike Cawdery. I’m very shocked and saddened by this news and my thoughts go to his family.
    Like everyone here, I will miss Mike’s intelligent contributions to the debate. What a wonderful man to be so active and so articulate, even in his later years, in his search for clarification and understanding of the controversial issues covered in your blog. A great loss.

    Reply
  16. gillpurple

    I am horrified about what had happened to Mike and Marjorie, very sad news. My sincere condolences to their family. Mike was a highly knowledgeable and able person who has made many outstanding, valuable and reliable contributions to this blog. For me, Mike was one of the lynchpins in this community, I always looked forward to his responses and I have learned a lot from him. He will be greatly missed.

    Reply
  17. anglosvizzera

    I am so shocked to hear of this dreadful event. As Dr Kendrick says, regulars on the blog indeed feel like family and Mike Cawdrey’s posts were always so well thought-out and intelligent – I always looked forward to reading them. I can’t comprehend why anyone would do this to an elderly couple. Sincere condolences to the family, even though I don’t know them personally.

    Reply
  18. topsygirl

    Such a tragedy, I have always enjoyed and looked for Mike’s comments I of course along with all the others who regularly read this blog will miss him but his family have lost so much more and been left with such a terrible end to their loved ones lives. My sympathy to all the family and friends of Mike and Marjorie. May they rest in peace.

    Reply
  19. JanB

    How shocking, shock, shocking. Mike Cawdrey’s name was one I always looked out for on this blog and I always paid particular attention to what he had to say. His comments were always interesting, intelligent and to the point. How ghastly that this should happen. I didn’t know him, of course I didn’t know him except as an oh so familiar name but the fact that this has happened to him and to his wife pains me beyond measure. My deepest condolences to their family and friends.
    And thank you, Dr. K, for breaking this appalling news to our little community in such a kindly and tactful way.

    Reply
    1. PeggySue

      Thank you Jan – perfectly put. I’m completely stunned and incapable of finding the words. It feels like a personal loss.
      Dr Kendrick – what an awful, awful message to pass on. You have done so admirably, thank you.
      Thinking about it, I always imagined Mike to look exactly as he appeared in the photo with his dear wife. Getting on a wee bit and with a twinkle.
      I always marvelled at his ability to thoroughly research and analyse so much material across the world and then pass it on to all of us in such a thoughtful and understandable way.
      He will be SO badly missed.
      I too send my deepest condolences to the families of Mike and his wife, Marjorie.
      What a world we live in.

      Reply
      1. JanB

        Sorry, Peggy Sue – I bodged the thumbs down instead of thumbs up and couldn’t correct it. Thumbs up x 10.
        J

  20. John U

    Dr. K, thank you for writing this tribute. I also loved reading Mike’s comments and held a deep respect for his intellect and devotion to our cause. As the morning is just beginning on this side of the water, it will be difficult today to not think about what a truly sad event took place.

    Reply
  21. Gary Ogden

    What a terrible tragedy. A fine man he was. I feel we have lost a beloved teacher. May his family take comfort in the impact he had on the lives of people around the world who come here for knowledge and understanding of medicine and health.

    Reply
  22. Anne Lucas

    What sad news. Condolences to Mike Cawdrey’s family and friends. His insightful comments will be sorely missed here. Rest in Peace Mike and Marjory.
    Maybe we should all do as he asked in his last post here and sign up to keep watch on the BMJ and also sign up as patient reviewers.

    Reply
  23. Fiona Stephens

    An utter tragedy for all and an awful way to exit this world. My thoughts are with his family and friends; the world has been deprived of a keen brain and will be all the poorer with it. I will be keeping an eye on the BMJ from now on.
    RIP Mike and Marjorie

    Reply
  24. Frederica Huxley

    Devestating and horrific news. Mike will be greatly missed. With condolences to his family and friends.

    Reply
  25. Antony Sanderson

    Learning of the death of Mike and his wife has really taken the wind out of my sails, as I am sure is the case with many others. It is difficult to get past the senselessness of it all. Their family have suffered a crushing loss, and in our minor way, the blog has its loss. Now I learn that Mike was 83 . . . yet when I read his comments the image I had in my mind was of a late middle aged man with a keen analytical mind and youthful enthusiasm and energy enough to try and make a difference; he was exhorting us to register with the BMJ to allow us to respond to open articles as he used to do.

    I wish the family and friends strength to deal with their loss and to take comfort in the obvious goodwill so many had towards Mike and his wife.

    Reply
  26. Anna

    What a tragedy, they didn’t deserve this death, may they rest in peace. My condolences to their family

    Reply
  27. Pat Mc

    I was very shocked to learn about the senseless murders of Mike and Marjorie Cawdery.

    Mike was intelligent, so knowledgeable and well read about medicine and the failures of medical research on statins and diabetes. He was also one of the best statisticians I have come across. His contributions to this forum were clear and sensible and well worth reading. I have learn’t a lot from him over the years. He will be sadly missed.

    Reply
  28. Ian Partington

    R.I.P Mike and Mrs. Cawdrey. A terrible waste of an inciteful mind. Thoughts of all of their family and friends at this most horrendous of times.

    Reply
  29. Lynne

    Heart wrenching news. Our words are just words but I hope that family and friends will feel our respect, loss and sorrow indicates how Mike touched our lives. Thank you Dr Kendrick for your tribute and time taken to let us know

    Reply
  30. TS

    What a dreadful shock. Mike came over as a proper gentleman. Always polite, insightful, so very well informed with not a trace of arrogance. Yes, I thought he had a young mind too and I have always admired his postings. What a huge loss.
    My sincere condolences to his and Marjorie’s family.

    We might also remember that Mike urged us all to say “adverse effects” rather than use the nondescript term “side effects”.

    Reply
  31. Sue Richardson

    What desperately sad and futile deaths. It’s a fact that this blog makes us an internet family as it were. All have similar concerns and Mike was indeed a knowledgeable man whose many contributions have been very helpful. He will be missed by his physical family without doubt, but also this family of bloggers.

    Reply
  32. Lorna

    As with a lot of regular contributors, Mike’s voice became a friendly and supportive presence on this site. He will be missed here a lot. Sending condolences and sharing the greatest respect for his many thoughtful comments over the years

    Reply
    1. celia

      I am so, so sorry to read this unbelievable news. As many have already said, we respected and appreciated Mike’s wisdom, knowledge, and suggestions as to more that we could do. I, like many, will sorely miss seeing his regular input to this blog. My sincere condolences to his family. Thank you Mike, for all that you gave us. We came to feel that we knew you, and what sort of input to expect from you.

      Reply
    2. Goutboy

      Sorry not sure how to start a comment,replies only. Just like to say I looked forward to Mike’s input it was always interesting and to the point. I believe it was he who gave me links to many useful sites including feinmantheother. I, like most, saw the headlines and was shocked. I hope his family see the response here, it won’t help of course but it will reflect the respect he had with so many.

      Reply
  33. Joe

    I’m so sorry. I always enjoyed Mike’s posts. He will be missed.

    Marjorie and Michael Cawdery. RIP.

    Reply
  34. L Cooper

    What a cruel world we live in. Mike was a shining example to us all proving that age is just a number and doesn’t, necessarily mean that we are incapable of having a meaningful opinion and expressing that opinion eloquently. He will be missed on this blog. Sincere condolences to the Family & friends of Mike & Marjorie. May they both rest in peace.

    Reply
  35. AnneM

    We will greatly miss his contribution to your blog Dr K. The news is too shocking to comprehend. He was an intelligent and thoughtful man.

    Reply
  36. Ernest Berry

    An appalling way to meet your end. Perhaps a fitting tribute would be to follow Mike’s advice and to become a patient peer reviewer for the BMJ. You can do it here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeOgqn-j5rwYVfkIhrQCB1eTONlA3AyzygMJGOldxVZBjwSLQ/viewform
    I did and became the ‘Best Patient Peer Reviewer 2015’.
    We need for patients to air their views and make the patient and carers an intrinsic part of the health system, now more than at any time.
    Make your voices heard and remember Mike by so doing.

    Reply
    1. AH Notepad

      Thank you for the link, I will fill it in today. I have passed it on to a nursery school head teacher who is seeing many more cases of autism than she did 40 years ago, always coincident with a recent vaccination.

      Having to remodel the world without Mike in it will take a while. I had the impression from his writings he was late thirties/early forties, and I couldn’t understand how he must be working yet still managed to fit in such comprehensive posts. Just shows how judgement can be mistaken.

      Reply
      1. robert lipp

        AH
        Autism, please research what Dr David Perlmutter has to say. I found it fascinating.
        (40 years, there has been an increase in vaccinations, high carb diets, sugar, fake vegetable oils, and who knows what else).
        regards Robert

  37. zoeharcombe

    I too am gutted by this news. Mike contacted me back in August 2013 when he came across my blog. We corresponded frequently and his passion and sharp mind were seriously impressive. I knew that he was a retired vet – I didn’t know that he was 83 years old. He has sent me so many articles, I feel like I’ve lost my best researcher! We gave him free club access and he would reply to most Monday newsletters with thoughts, insights and things he’d read on the topic.
    When criminals commit such atrocities, they give no thought to the fact that Mike and Marjorie are precious parents, siblings and grandparents. I feel so sorry for the family members who must be in shock and turmoil right now. Mike’s feisty intellect and knowledge touched so many – and Marjorie was no doubt his match – many will miss them both. I wish their loved ones much sympathy.

    Reply
  38. susan c knight

    This is sad news indeed. Mike Cawdrey was a joy to read, a voice of authority, always cogent. It is as though a dear friend has gone. It is strange how we come to resonate with people we haven’t met. My condolences to the family, and to this cholesterol family.

    Reply
  39. Charles Gale

    R.I.P.

    Shocking.

    Like everyone else in the community, I loved his contributions over the years and seeing his name appear when scrolling down the comments.

    Gutted.

    Reply
  40. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    Malcom,

    How extremely sad this is for me to hear and how well framed I find your tribute!

    I really appreciated all of Mike Cawdery’s intelligent comments and often in direct communication with him on your blog.

    The following respons which I received on the very morning of this tragic day is in my eyes typical of his profound knowledge of the medical science and which so greatly contributed to this blog.

    ————
    Goran,

    There are some great lectures on diabetes, hyperinsulinieamia, heart disease and their interactions. The problem lies so much in “medical dogmas” that seem to be more directed at maintaining Big Pharma profits and the KOLs status and reputation.

    Reply
  41. Linda Colback

    How dreadful, indeed what a tragedy. I believe that I’ve read some comments made by Mike Cawdrey – when you see something as dreadful on the News as this… oh my. Thank you for posting this.

    Reply
  42. Morgana

    This is just shocking and unbelievable! I am so very sorry to hear about this. May he and his wife rest in peace.

    Reply
  43. Mark Johnson

    .

    I hoped that somehow I’d misread the title and opening sentence to Dr K’s latest post. Sadly not.

    It’s all been said before: the devastating loss to his family, the loss of an erudite and knowledgeable fellow on this board, the senseless manner of his and his wife’s death.

    Mike, I never met you but thank you for all your learned postings on this board.
    You will be missed.

    Reply
  44. Mark Johnson

    .

    And kudos to Mike Cawdrey’s GP for taking the time and trouble to inform Dr K.
    I think that says a lot.

    Reply
  45. foodnstuff

    A terrible, senseless event! I always looked forward to Mike’s insightful comments here. Sincere condolences to his family.

    Reply
  46. Kay

    Just sickening! He came across as a wonderfully kind and intelligent person. Unbelievable that he’s been taken from our midst in this way.

    Reply
  47. Craig E

    As per previous comments, as a regular reader of this blog for a couple of years I developed a real admiration for Mike’s posts. I am stunned beyond words at what’s happened.

    Reply
  48. greenhind

    Oh, what a shock. So sad. Thank you for letting us know. Mike stood out as such a clever and interesting contributor to the comments on your posts. We will miss him here. Condolences to his friends and family.

    Reply
  49. Jo

    Devastating news.. Mike was clearly very well respected by everyone here, not just me. My heart goes out to his family at this very sad time.

    Reply
  50. Joyce

    Am totally shell shocked after receiving your email Malcolm. I, along with lots of others, have greatly enjoyed Mike’s contributions to this blog. In my own interactions with him, he came across as a kindly, generous, caring soul. I too always looked out for his enthusiastic comments. My heartfelt sympathy goes to his family, on what appears to be a “absolutely random act, by a mentally ill man.” If what I have read is true, all there is to say is “we never know what’s around the corner, so live your life to the full”, which Mike appeared to be doing! God bless him(and his wife). 💐 x

    Reply
  51. Jennifer

    This news is dreadful, and I support all of the wonderful words used here to describe Mike.
    The older I get, the less I understand about life.

    Reply
  52. chris c

    What a terrible tragedy!

    He was such a lovely guy, and if he ever got up anyone’s nose it was well deserved. I almost always “liked” his comments in the BMJ and elsewhere.

    I too was amazed when I discovered his age just a while back, he had the intelligence and abilities of someone much younger, perhaps a tribute to his diet and his knowledge.

    Reply
  53. HW

    My condolences to the Cawderys’ family and friends. I was shocked beyond adequate expression when I came here today and read this awful news.

    Mike’s comments here were always worth attention, especially when some of Dr Kendrick’s posts attracted many hundreds of responses, necessitating selective reading. I appreciated his illuminating intelligence, trustworthiness and kind courtesy to other contributors.

    Reply
  54. The Wizard

    A towering intellect, articulate, compassionate and prodigious. Mike’s contribution to this blog is beyond compare, I will miss reading his erudite words. RIP.

    Reply
  55. MCCORMACK, Joanne (PADGATE MEDICAL CENTRE)

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Joanne

    ________________________________

    Reply
  56. Hugh Mannity

    My condolences to Mike and Marjorie’s families and friends.

    I will miss reading Mike’s insightful comments here and on Zoe’s blog. Even though I never met Mike, nor corresponded with him directly, I always enjoyed his posts and considered him a friend that I would one day get to meet.

    This is a sad day.

    Reply
  57. Eric

    And kudos to Mike’s GP for reaching out to Malcolm for him to let us know. I realize Mike was probably giving you a hard time…

    Reply
    1. mmec7

      Yes. I was only thinking this morning, a big ‘Thank You’ to Mike’s GP for ‘reaching out to Malcolm’ to let us know. Thank you Eric for articulaing this.

      Reply
  58. Susan Moles

    My prayers go out to Mike and Marjorie’s family. I am truly going to miss his contributions to your blog. Such a senseless thing to happen.

    Reply
    1. Susan Moles

      I hope that Mike and Marjorie’s family get a chance to read the comments posted here. It might give them some small comfort.

      Reply

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