During his long career, Lavelle worked hard to develop radiology services in North East England. In 1988, he secured the region's first CT scanner, supervising its installation and subsequent clinical use. He also added an MRI installation by leasing the equipment, a unique method at the time, the report noted.
He worked extensively in endoscopy and gastroenterology and along with his colleague Dr. Chris Venables, he set up an endoscopy unit that was one of the first to introduce flexible brass tubing. In 1987, he was the Royal College of Radiologists' (RCR) representative on the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care's committee for the testing of digital imaging equipment.
Lavelle became a registrar at the Royal Victory Infirmary in 1966, followed by a consultant radiologist from 1972 until his retirement in 1996. He played an active role in teaching all grades of technical and medical staff, a commitment that coincided with his work as an RCR examiner. He also became an honorary radiology clinical lecturer at the University of Newcastle (1972-1994).
In addition to his work as a radiologist, he was an accomplished watercolor artist, exhibiting across Northumberland, a life member of Northumberland Wildlife Trust. He was a fellow of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and twice president of the Newcastle Pen and Palette Club.
His altruism and compassion were widely recognized, according to his son Martin, particularly after a service commission with the Royal Air Force Medical Branch in the Maldives. The minister of state for the Commonwealth Relations Office wrote, "His work has left a deep impression on the local inhabitants, who have never before been able to get treatment for even the simplest ills. Ian never stinted the amount of time he devoted to the care and treatment of the Maldivians."
Lavelle is survived by his wife, Suzanne (nee Sellers), whom he married in 1962; three children, Claire, Tim, and Martin; and five grandchildren. The RCR has also posted an obituary on its website.
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