Dr Michael Swallow OBE

11 December 1928 – 13 May 2018

It is with the greatest sadness that we acknowledge the death of our President and founder Dr Michael William Swallow OBE. Dr Swallow died on the 13 May 2018, peacefully, after a long illness. He was a devoted husband to the late Barbara, and inspiring and loving father to Nicky and Gemma. He will be much missed by all his family and friends.

Dr Michael Swallow trained in medicine in London and qualified MBBS in 1952. He developed an early interest in neurology and after postgraduate work at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases he was appointed Consultant to the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1964. Michael was a gifted clinician. He was highly respected by consultant colleagues, trainees and nursing staff. He was very attentive to his patients, kind and caring. He had the ability to make his patients feel that he was devoting all his attention to them, and was on their side.

His lifelong interest in music started as a chorister at Westminster Abbey and then Magdalen College Oxford and when he came to Northern Ireland he directed the Royal Victoria Hospital Choir and the Ulster Singers. At the end of his schooling he was torn between a career in music or in medicine. Although medicine won, his passion for music continued and an interest in music therapy enabled him to combine neurology, rehabilitation and music. In 1990 he established the NI Music Therapy Trust, (we have since been renamed Every Day Harmony), and in 1995 he was awarded the OBE for services to Music Therapy and Arts for Disabled People.

Nearly thirty years later we continue with his inspiring work and his vision, “To see every child, young person and adult in Northern Ireland receive the level of music therapy service that meets their need”. Dr Michael Swallow’s life was an example and inspiration to us all. We wish Nicky and Gemma comfort and condolences in their time of loss.