Obituary: Paddy Searle-Barnes


Written by Alison Allott and Margaret Horner

Friends and colleagues will be sad to learn that Paddy Searle-Barnes passed away on 3 January aged 64. Paddy discovered he had renal cancer in 2014, and was wonderfully treated at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. In September 2021 it was found that his last treatment was no longer working, and he decided to stop treatment apart from palliative care. His wife Anita managed to care for him at home all the way through, with the help of a very good team of carers and friends.


Training and teaching

Paddy trained at the BSO 1979-83. This was the first year the BSO had increased its intake considerably, and we didn’t fit into the old building in Buckingham Gate. So our lectures were held at the Methodist Central Hall, and we did practical sessions in the evenings at Buckingham Gate. The difficulties of being off-site and having evening classes seemed to help bond the year group and Paddy was very much part of the team spirit which we developed.

He went on to teach diagnosis at the BSO for some years and with Emanuel Sammut, and he wrote Osteopathic Diagnosis, published in 1998. Paddy’s was an analytical osteopathy, which must have made him well suited to teaching diagnosis. Before coming to the BSO he did a Natural Science degree at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He wasn’t an arrogant person and was fun to be with.

Dave Heath recalls Paddy helping him out with the cryptic crossword during physiology lectures ‘figuring out which bit of Guyton to read usually took about five minutes, then we could tackle the crossword’. Dave also records Paddy as a thoughtful, measured person. When I think of him asking a question in conversation or replying, he’d pause and think about how to frame his words, rather than giving a knee-jerk response. But his was a ready smile and leaning back to laugh was a more immediate response.

On graduation in 1983 Paddy joined Stephen Tyreman at West Parade Osteopaths in Lincoln, initially as an associate, then becoming a partner. He also practised for some years in a nearby NHS clinic. He was completely committed to giving the best care to his patients and being a supportive practice principal to his colleagues until his health issues lead to his retirement from practice.

Paddy’s Christian faith was a guiding part of his life, and at the BSO and for years afterwards with Margaret Horner, he ran the Christian Osteopathic Fellowship. For me, part of my friendship with Paddy was knowing we may try to get things in the best position to heal, but believing ultimately that we never heal anything.

‘God does the healing.’

Paddy’s family was hugely important to him, and he leaves Anita and their children Emma and Ben and six grandchildren. His funeral focused not on his many achievements but his gratitude for his life, family and friends.


Charles Hunt – Vice Chancellor University College of Osteopathy

Paddy Searle-Barnes career as an academic left its mark on many students who were lectured by him directly at the BSO but also the wider student community. He joined the faculty in 1988 initially as a clinic tutor but quickly moved into a lecturing role becoming a member of faculty delivering the osteopathic evaluation course. This course involved bringing together a number of taught components to help students understand how the information they had learned elsewhere could be applied to the patient’s narrative and clinical findings. While doing this he co-authored with Emmanuel Sammut the textbook Osteopathic Diagnosis which was one of the early and limited range of UK textbooks focused for osteopaths. I saw only this week on Amazon a review which said ‘The Bible for osteopaths!’. With this textbook Paddy reached so many other osteopathic students throughout the world and not just those at the BSO.

Paddy was a committed member of the BSO faculty for 21 years stepping down in 2009 and he always had a desire to improve the students’ education throughout that period. He was regular attender of the faculty weekend conferences where curriculum development occurred and his warm smile masking a challenging question most definitely led to curriculum improvements.

I always enjoyed working with Paddy and one of my strong memories was of him moderating the summer OSCE and Patient Management Plan (PMP) exams and feeling him assessing me as I assessed the students. Even as I moved into more senior roles in the Institution, I felt pleased if Paddy was happy with my work and gave me positive feedback on my decision making at any breaks in the OSCE and PMP.

There is no doubt Paddy made a huge contribution to the development of the BSO.


Ian Whyte

 I will really miss Paddy. He was a rare breed in a modern era of egos and self- aggrandisement: a genuinely nice guy, self-deprecating, honest and full of integrity. I had the honour of a few long phone calls just some weeks before he died and although his body was failing, his mind was still razor sharp. He talked openly about the little time he had left and how that despite having spent the last two years in a bed ridden state his Christian faith had sustained him. His practice and lecturing career had been prematurely cut short due to illness but he still managed to discuss and debate the future of the profession to which he had given so much. He will be greatly missed by so many.



If you would like to give something in Paddy’s memory, you can contribute to the University College of Osteopathy (UCO) who give limited student grants, loans and bursaries to help students access their courses and provide support in times of unforeseen financial hardship.

Bank details:

Sort code: 20 65 82

Account Number: 2019 6266

Please put PS-Barnes as the reference plus your name in brackets as the donor.

Thank you very much.

To read more about financial support to the UCO, click here.