The BPNA Archivist is Dr Neil Thomas (Southampton) who can be contacted via the BPNA Secretariat
History of the BPNA
The pattern of interdisciplinary meetings organised by Dr Ronnie Mac Keith as Director of the Medical, Educational and Information Unit of the Spastics Society was a meeting in Oxford every two years, and at some other location in the UK during the intervening years. There had been a meeting in Oxford in 1970 during which a "European Study Group on Child Neurology" had been discussed. Then in January 1971 Dr MacKeith organised a meeting of doctors particularly interested in paediatric neurology at The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton. Fourteen doctors came from the UK
and Eire (Bax, Brett, Gordon, MacKeith, Neville, O'Donohoe, Ounsted, Roberts, Robinson, Schutt, Stephenson, Taylor, Tizard, Wilson).
Four doctors attended from the Royal Alexandra Hospital (Cree, Hatcher, Mann, Nash), and five guests came from France and Luxembourg (Aicardi, Attal, Lyon, Metz, Theiffry). This custom of inviting doctors from other European countries to meetings of the British Paediatric Neurology Association continues to the present day. During this meeting there were several discussions on the organisation of paediatric neurology in the UK. Tea and cucumber sandwiches were served on the Saturday afternoon, but the other custom of an "entertainment session" during the meeting was started at a later date.
In March 1972 a meeting was held in Manchester arranged by Neil Gordon with the full support of the MEIU of the Spastics Society. Twenty-seven doctors attended, including 7 from Manchester. There were further discussions on the future of the group, but it was decided to remain under the wing of the Spastics Society for a further year. The meeting in 1973 was in Oxford in January, organised by Ronnie MacKeith, with invited guests from Germany and Switzerland.
The meeting in January 1974 was held in London, at the invitation of John Wilson and Edward Brett, and it may be of interest that the conference fee for this meeting, including accommodation and all meals, was £10. The guests on this occasion were from Scandinavia, and 54 doctors participated in the meeting. By that time the Academic Board of the British Paediatric Association had suggested that there should be a sub-group of Paediatric Neurology. The UK group welcomed the idea of an association with the BPA, while maintaining their independence, and agreed that the group should organise a special session at the Annual Meetings of the BPA starting on April 1975, when a number of papers on neurological subjects were given (Gordon, McCarthy, Ross, Stephenson).
During 1974 discussions took place at a meeting in Harrogate in April (Bax, Bower, Brown, Dubowitz, Gordon, Green, Mac Keith, Ounsted, Roberts, Stark, Stephenson, Tizard), and at the MEIU Meeting in Oxford in September. It was decided that the UK Group of Paediatric Neurologists, as it was then called, should form an autonomous group. Points from the discussion included:
(1) Paediatric neurology was taken to include the care of children and adolescents with acute, recurrent and chronic disorders of the nervous system. 
(2) Members were expected to have training in paediatrics and/or neurology, and considerable experience in the practice of paediatric neurology, and to have made contributions to the knowledge of the subject.
There were 27 foundation members (Bower, Brett, Brown, Corbett, Drummond, Dubowitz, Gardner-Medwin, Gordon, Green, Ingram, Johnston, MacKeith, Mellor, Neville, Noronha, O'Donohoe, Ounsted, Purves, Roberts, Robinson, Schutt, Stark, Stephenson, Stores, Taylor, Tizard, Wilson). These were proposed by a liaison committee (Gordon, MacKeith, Stephenson, Wilson), who were also invited to prepare a constitution. A note was published in the Lancet (1974, ii, 1092) outlining
the development of paediatric neurology in the UK, and Europe.
The meeting in Bristol in January 1975, organised by Werner Schutt, was the first meeting of the British Association for Paediatric Neurology, the title used at that time.
At the Business Meeting in Bristol, Neil Gordon was elected Chairman, and it was decided that there should be a Secretary (MacKeith), Treasurer (Wilson), and two further members of the Committee (Stephenson, Taylor). Relations with other bodies were discussed, particularly the European Federation of Child Neurology Societies, and links with the BPA. Efforts were made to also establish a relationship with the Association of British Neurologists but these have not developed as had been hoped.
A number of members of the BPNA were also members of the ABN. In 1975 there were 9.
At the time of writing (1998) the BPNA forms one of the six groups constituting the European Federation, which up to the present, has no individual members, and it has two of our representatives on its Council. Several members of the BPNA are also members of the International Child Neurology Association. This maintains links between the two organisations, although their functions and aims are somewhat different.
The Constitution of the BPNA was approved on 4 January 1975, and subsequently circulated to all members. A policy of gradual expansion of the Association was accepted, and qualifications for membership were debated during 1975, previous presentation of a paper at either of the annual meetings of the Association being regarded as a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement for membership. It was also decided that membership should include doctors from other disciplines, such as Child Psychiatry, Mental Handicap, Epileptology, Developmental Paediatrics, etc who had made a special contribution to the field of neurology. During this year the Title of The British Paediatric Neurology Association was accepted.
The meeting in January 1976 was held in Durham, organised by David Gardner-Medwin. There were 53 participants, with guests mainly from Scandinavia. At this time discussions were taking place on the training of paediatric neurologists, and these continued over several years. A draft produced in July 1976 suggested a six-year period of training with some aspects of experience being obligatory (Paediatrics, Adult Neurology, Paediatric Neurology), and some desirable (Developmental Assessment, Child Psychiatry, Mental Handicap, Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry etc). A plenary session was organised by Neil Gordon at the BPA Meeting in York in April 1976 on "Recent Advances in Paediatric Neurology".
Edinburgh was the site for the January meeting in 1977, organised by Keith Brown. David Gardner-Medwin became Secretary, and the custom of sending an occasional newsletter to members was started. Ronnie MacKeith became the first honorary member of the BPNA.
In 1978 there were 46 members. The meeting was in Liverpool, organised by John Roberts. It was decided to found an annual lecture in honour of Ronnie MacKeith, who died on 30 October 1977, to be given at the January meeting. In fact the guest speaker at this meeting was Joest Martinius who spoke on "Accident proneness in children, cerebral trauma and late neuropsychological findings", so can be regarded as the first Ronnie MacKeith lecturer. The neurology session at York in April was arranged by Keith Brown, the special theme being "Acute Emergencies in Paediatric Neurology".
In 1979 the BPNA's proposals for training had been accepted, without significant changes by the Specialist Advisory Committees in Paediatrics and Neurology of the RCP of London, and had been submitted to the Committee for Higher Medical Training.
During this year Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology became the officially designated journal of the BPNA, and steps were taken to ask the DHSS to recognise paediatric neurology as a separate specialty, negotiated in particular by Ronnie MacKeith, with support from the Royal College of Physicians. David Taylor was elected Treasurer of the BPNA, with Greg Stores as Deputy Treasurer in 1979 when David Taylor was to be in Canada. The BPNA met in January 1979 (Richard Purvis), and this has been the only January Meeting which has had to be cancelled (at three days notice) owing to a severe snow storm which blocked all road and rail transport. It was held in February, and it said much for the enthusiasm of members, and guests from the German-Speaking Group, that in spite of these troubles it was very well attended. Peter Tizard
was elected Chairman of the BPNA at this Meeting. Kit Ounsted gave the Ronnie MacKeith lecture on "The Developmental Medicine of Temporal Lobe Seizures". During 1979 Paediatric Neurology was recognised by the DHSS as a specialty in its own right.
In 1980 the Meeting was in Canterbury (Brian Neville), and members of the Dutch and Benelux Group were guests. David Clark gave the Ronnie MacKeith lecture on "Neuropathology, and the Training of Paediatric Neurologists." At this Meeting the custom was started of having a session on a special subject related to paediatric neurology. On this occasion it was Neurosurgery. Brian Neville was elected as Secretary of the BPNA. The session in York at the BPA Meeting was on Neonatal Neurology, and was organised by Peter Tizard.
Manchester was the venue for the 1981 Meeting (Neil Gordon), with the Scandinavian Group as guests, and the Ronnie MacKeith lecture being given by Bengt Hagberg on "The Epidemiology and Etiology of Severe and Mild Mental Retardation". Medical Genetics was the special subject. Keith Brown became Treasurer. By this year there were sixty members of the BPNA, and the constitution of the Association was brought up to date. The session at the BPA Meeting in April was organised by Brian Neville. In September 1981 the Meeting of the European Federation of Child Neurology Societies was held in Oxford. In this year the post of chairman was changed to that of President.
The Meeting in January 1982 in Birmingham (Stuart Green) was again beset by snow, but although some members were delayed, all arrived safely. The Dutch and Benelux Group were the official guests, and Jean Aicardi gave the Ronnie MacKeith lecture on the "Benign Epilepsies of Childhood". The special subject was Orthopaedics. There was a most enjoyable piano recital given by Stuart Green's wife, Margaret. In January 1982 it was agreed that the BPNA should award a prize, called the Ronnie MacKeith Prize, for anyone under the age of thirty five whose published work was thought to have made a major contribution to paediatric neurology. Stuart Green also organised the session at the BPA Meeting at Aviemore, which was combined with the community Group of the BPA. Dr David Clark was elected to honorary membership in 1982, and John Wilson became President for two years, to be followed by Keith Brown for two years, as there were an equal number of votes for both candidates.
In 1983 the Meeting was in Oxford (Peter Tizard and Judith Hockaday), with members of the Dutch Group as guests. The Ronnie Mac Keith lecture was given by Professor Paul Polani on "The Genetics of Sex Determination: a Modern Synthesis". The special subject for discussion was "Neuro-ophalmology". David MelIor was elected secretary. The session in York in April was organised by David MelIor, and the special subject was "Neuropharmocology". Dr. Jean Aicardi became an Honorary Member, and by this year there were 65 ordinary members. During 1983 the Report of a BPA/BPNA Working Party on "Neurological Services for Children in the United Kingdom" was published (Tizard: Convenor; Addy, Gordon, Bolt, Smithells). This made a number of recommendations, including the appointment of additional consultant paediatric neurologists to any region in the NHS without one, and a second to any region at that time served by one. It was suggested that University Boards and Faculties of Clinical Medicine should be encouraged to establish lecture posts in Paediatric Neurology, and funds should be sought to set up a Chair in Paediatric Neurology. The duties and responsibilities of the Consultant Paediatric Neurologist were defined in terms of service commitments, teaching and research.
Glasgow, with good weather, was the site for the 1984 Meeting (John Stephenson and Ruth Day). Ninety-six attended, and the guests were from the French Speaking Group. The special session was on Child Psychiatry. Professor Michael Rutter gave the Ronnie Mac Keith lecture on "Developmental Neuropsychiatry: Concepts, Issues and Prospects". Sheila Wallace was elected Treasurer. The subject of "Common Problems in Paediatric Neurology" was chosen for the special session at the BPA Meeting, and this was organised by Ian McKinlay. Neil Gordon was elected Archivist in 1984; hence this paper. Professor Bengt Hagberg became an Honorary Member.
In 1985 the January Meeting moved to Sheffield (Gwilym Hosking). Guests were from Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia, and Professor Colin Blakemore gave the Ronnie MacKeith lecture on "Post-Natal Development of the Visual System: Basic Research and Clinical Implications". The special session was given by invited speakers on "Imaging Techniques". Michael Noronha agreed to analyse questionnaires on Paediatric Neurophysiology Services sent to members of the BPA. Professor Werner Isler was elected to Honorary Membership. The BPA session in April was arranged by Richard Robinson, with the theme of "Appropriateness of Certain Investigations in Paediatric Neurology".
The Meeting in 1986 was organised by Sheila Wallace in Cardiff. Guests were from the East European Group, and the Ronnie MacKeith lecture was given by Dr Susan Iverson on "Neuropeptides: Novel Neurotransmitters". The special subject for discussion was "Disorders of Metabolism Affecting the Nervous System". Brian Neville became President, and Richard Robinson, Secretary of the BPNA. At the BPA meeting in York the BPNA was given a whole day for their meeting, and the sessions were organised by Dr David Gardner-Medwin, the special theme being "Disorders of Communication". The recommendations of a report on Paediatric Neurosurgery (MelIor and Robinson) had been discussed with representatives of the Association of British Neurosurgeons with virtual complete agreement. The report of the BPA/BPNA working party on "Chronic Disability in Childhood and Adolescence" had not yet been finalised. In 1986 there were four honorary members (Aicardi, Clark, Hagberg, Isler), three senior members (at the age of retirement with no voting rights: Gordon, Lorber, Tizard) and 81 ordinary members. One hundred and two people attended the Cardiff Meeting and 45 members were at the Annual General Meeting.
The Meeting in January 1987 was in Nottingham (David MelIor), and was attended by 123 people. Dr Brian Meldrum was invited to give the Ronnie MacKeith lecture on "Common Mechanisms in Epileptic and Hypoxic/Ischaemic Brain Damage". The German speaking group was asked to send guests, and the special theme was Paediatric Pathology. Hamish Young was elected Treasurer, and was the organiser for the BPA Meeting.
In 1988 there were four honorary members, five senior members (+Ounsted) and 90 ordinary members. The January Meeting was held in Liverpool (Dr Roberts), and the Ronnie MacKeith lecture was given by Dr Peter Barth on "Peroxisomal Disorders". The special guests were from Scandinavia. The special session at the BPA meeting at York was on "Neonatal Neurology", Convener Edward Brett.
The BPNA met in Leeds in January 1989, and the organiser was Roddy MacFaul. The special theme was "What is New in Neuro-Oncology", and the Ronnie MacKeith lecturer was David Taylor on "Hysteria, Belief and Magic". Linda de Vries gave the MacKeith Prize Lecture on "An Integrated Approach to Leukomalacia". Invited guests were from Italy. David Gardner-Medwin was elected President, and Edward Brett the Secretary. The latter organised the neurology session at the BPA Meeting, with a
special lecture on "New Developments in Meningitis". During this year Brian Neville was appointed to the first chair of Paediatric Neurology in the UK at London University. The report on Paediatric Neurophysiology (Michael Noronha) was accepted.
Dr Niall O'Donohoe organised the Meeting in January 1990 in Dublin. The special theme was on Epilepsy Surgery, and the Ronnie MacKeith lecturer was to be Professor David Marsden, but due to his flight being cancelled at the last minute he was unable to reach the meeting. The subject was to be the "Dilemma of Dystonia". Douglas Addy
was elected as Treasurer. The invited guests were from the German Speaking Group. The subject of Audit for the use of Members of the BPNA was discussed at this meting, and a sub-committee set up (Gardner-Medwin, King, Robinson, Smyth, Ross). One hundred and nineteen people attended this meting. Stuart Green organised the session at the BPA Meeting, the special theme being "New Light on Old Subjects".
The Meeting in January 1991 was organised by David Gardner-Medwin in Durham. The special theme was "Diseases of the Neuromuscular Junction and Mitochondrial Oxidation Defects", and the Ronnie MacKeith Lecturer was Professor Pasco Rakic, and his subject was "Mechanisms of Cortical Development: Implications for Paediatric Neurology". The Ronnie MacKeith Prize Lecture was given by Janet Eyre, who had recently been appointed to the Chair of Paediatric Neuroscience at Newcastle University. The invited guests were from the French-Speaking Group. There were further discussions on Medical Audit. Peter Tizard and Neil Gordon were elected to honorary membership.
Stuart Green again arranged the session at the BPA Meeting, with special reference to genetic topics.
In January 1992 the meeting was at Bath, organised by John Osborne. The Ronnie MacKeith Lecture was given by Victor Dubowitz on "Exciting New Developments in Neuromuscular Disorders", and the Ronnie MacKeith Prize Lecture was given by Dr J Poulton on "Mitochondrial DNA and Genetic Disease: Recent Advances". The special session was on "Problems of Neuro-Oncology", and invited guests were from the Eastern Mediterranean Countries. At this meeting Professor Victor Dubowitz
was elected as President, and Stuart Green as Secretary. The future of the EFCNS was discussed, especially if there should be individual membership of this Society. David Garner-Medwin was to report to the EFCNS. Stuart Green arranged the BPA session at the Warwick Meeting.
In 1993 Professor Brian Neville organised the January meeting in London. The Ronnie MacKeith Lecture was given by Professor J J Volpe on "Brain injury in the premature infant-a radical review", and the MacKeith Prize Lecturers were Dr R Surtees and Dr P M SharpIes. At the AGM Chris Verity was elected Treasurer. The special session was on Neuroimaging, and the special guests were from the German-speaking Group. The BPA Session at Warwick was organised by Richard Robinson.
In 1994 the January Meeting was organised by Stuart Green in Birmingham. The Ronnie MacKeith Lecture was given by Professor Philippe Evrard, on "Environmental determinants of brain development". The special guests were to be from the Scandinavian Group, but owing to a clash of meetings only one member was able to come. However, there were numerous guests from other European countries. The special session was on "Scientific Aspects of Paediatric Neurology". Members and guests
attending the meeting numbered 197. The session at the BPA meeting was again be organised by Richard Robinson.
The meeting in January 1995 was in Cambridge, organised by Chris Verity. Professor Anita Harding gave the Ronnie MacKeith Lecture on "Mitochondrial DNA in Human Disease". The Ronnie MacKeith Prize was given to both Helen Cross and Francesco Muntoni; as no prize had been awarded in 1994. Several guests attended from other European groups, and the total number registered was 164. The special session was on problems of genetic diseases and their treatment. During this meeting
Richard Robinson was elected President, and Colin Kennedy was elected Secretary. It was decided to alter the Constitution so that an Assistant Secretary could be appointed, in view of the greatly increased work of the Secretary's post. There was no session at the BPA Meeting, as during the same week in March the European Paediatric Neurology Society met in Eilat.
In future membership of this society was to be by election. In January 1996 the meeting was held in Southampton, organised by Neil Thomas and Colin Kennedy. Unfortunately, Colin was unable to be present owing to his mother's illness, and Neil Thomas ably took his place. There were a number of guests from other European countries, and 201 delegates were registered. A number of invited speakers gave papers on various topics (Trinucleotide Repeat Diseases, Current Therapies in Cerebral
Palsy, and Trends in Neurological Diseases). The Ronnie MacKeith Lecture was given by Professor Alan Cowie on "Consciousness". At the AGM Richard Newton was elected Treasurer. On the Saturday evening there was an excellent dinner on HMS Warrior.
At the BPA Meeting in York in April there was a special symposium on paediatric neurology arranged by Shiela Wallace, taking advantage of the fact that the Board of ICNA was meeting in the UK at this time. It was therefore possible to ask a number of international paediatric neurologists to give papers. The Group Session was organised by John Livingston, and included guest lectures on "The Diagnosis and Management of CNS Tumours in Children" by Dr D A Walker, "Neural Rehabilitation
for the Brain Injured Child" by Dr R E Appleton, and "The Use of Botulinum Toxin in the Management of Childhood Neurological Disability" by Mr A T Cosgrove.
There was a return to Oxford for the Meeting in January 1997, organised by Michael Pike and Tony McShane at Keble College. There were 226 participants listed. Professor John Newsom-Davis gave the Ronnie MacKeith Lecture on "Autoimmune and Genetic Disorders at the Neuro-muscular Junction", and Dr Charles Newton won the MacKeith Prize. There were again a number of guests from other European countries, and 7 invited speakers were asked to review special subjects (Visual Development in Primates, Functional Neuro-imaging; Linking Pathology and Disability, Maternal Antibodies in Arthrogryposis: a Paradigm for other Neurodevelopmental Disorders?, Current Insights into the Pathophysiology and Prevention of Bacterial Meningitis, The Molecular Genetic Investigation of Idiopathic Mental Retardation, Molecular Genetic Approaches to Craniostenosis, and possibilities for Gene Therapy in Muscular Dystrophy).
At the Meeting of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath in York the Paediatric Neurology Session was organised by John Livingston. There was a joint meeting with the British Paediatric Cardiac Association, and a symposium "District Epilepsy Services", Chaired by Ian McKinlay.
In January 1998 the meeting was held in Manchester, organised by Richard Newton and Pam Tomlin. This was the year of Neil Gordon's eightieth birthday; and this was acknowledged, especially at the dinner at the Manchester Town Hall (where Brian Neville played the great organ), to the great pleasure and gratitude of the octogenarian. There were guests from Scandinavia and Rumania; and invited speakers gave papers on a variety of subjects, including "The Molecular Aspects of
Dysmorphology and Development" by Professor Donnai, "The Genetic Approach to the Management of Metabolic Diseases" by Dr Wraith, "Malignant tumours in Infants" by Dr Lashford, and "Community Care for Disabled Children" by Dr McKinlay. The Ronnie MacKeith Prize was awarded to Colin Ferrie, who gave his Prize Lecture on "The Childhood Epileptic Encephalopathies: New Insights from PET and Other Studies". The MacKeith Lecture was given by Dr Charles French-Constant on "Brain Repair-Lessons from Developmental Biology". At the Annual General Meeting Stuart Green was elected as the next President of the BPNA, John Livingston as Secretary, V Ramesh as Assistant Secretary, and Michael Pike to the Committee.
At the Meeting of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at York in April the Paediatric Neurology Session was held jointly with the Perinatal Group. There was also a symposium "Paediatric epilepsy: a practical guide".
It is hoped that this survey of the development of the BPNA has shown that it is based on firm foundations, and that there is every reason to suppose that it will continue to develop satisfactorily in the future. Apart from the two annual meetings being an important forum for the exchange of scientific information, and therefore a means of maintaining high standards and improving service commitments, the BPNA must be a focus, which encourages teaching and research.
Ronnie MacKeith, more than any other person, is responsible for this Association, and it does embrace many of his ideals. It is hoped that it will continue to be a lasting tribute to his memory.