Carol Town was not expected to live beyond 10 years of age. She was born with Eisenmenger’s Syndrome, a hole in the heart that led to irreversible lung damage. Even with this, and other serious health issues, she led an extraordinary, full life – a life marked by a determination not to be defined by her medical history – and one that was characterised by her desire to learn and to care for others.  

Despite her disability and also overcoming cervical cancer, Carol joined the NHS and trained as a hearing therapist and counsellor. After receiving a heart-lung transplant at the age of 33, she learned to run, swim, cycle, and ride horses for the very first time!

In 1993, Carol began attending the Churchill Hospital in Oxford to receive treatment for kidney failure, under the care of the late Dr Desmond Oliver and Dr Chris Winearls. Eventually, in 2005, she underwent a successful kidney transplant after years of dialysis and remained busy and active until the pandemic in 2020.

It’s impossible to convey the mountains that Carol (literally) climbed and the impact she made on the lives of so many others: she truly was one of a kind.

Carol passed away in September 2022 at the age of 68. With her final legacy, she honoured the gifts that she felt had been bestowed upon her through her medical care: the extra life lived with joy, love, and energy. And in doing so, she paid forward her gratitude to future patients in our hospitals by leaving a gift in her Will.

As Carol’s husband, Dr Stephen Town explains, ‘Carol felt she had received so much from the NHS and wanted to give back – this [gift] was her way of doing so that others might benefit.’

These gifts fund improvements for patients and staff across all our hospitals – the John Radcliffe, Horton General, Churchill, Oxford Children’s Hospitals, and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.

‘Legacies, from special people like Carol, make the world of difference to our hospitals. She was a lovely patient who put up with all that we doctors inflicted on her with stoicism and charm,’ Dr Chris Winearls told us.

If you would like to find out how you can leave a gift in your Will, or take the opportunity of our free gifts in Wills service please visit or call 0300 373 1188.