A Celebration of the life of Janine Leach ND, DO

A MEMORIAL Service to celebrate the life of Janine Leach, a former President of the British Naturopathic Association (BNA), who has died at the age of 68, was held at St Dunstan’s Parish Church, Ashurst Wood, Sussex, on Friday, July 1, 2016.

Janine, a Naturopath and Osteopath, graduated from the College of Osteopathy, in London, in 1989, after studying there for five years.

The church was packed with more than 100 people to hear Tributes from her husband Martin, and daughters Rebecca and Francesca.

There was indeed a lot to celebrate, as Janine was involved with a wide variety of local and national organisations, holding office in many of them, as well as running her own private practice, in which she helped numerous patients, many with chronic and complex symptoms. ‘Jan’, who was born in Walls End on Tyne in 1947, excelled in all her school subjects as well as being a games captain, being proficient at hockey and tennis.

She went on to read Physics at Birmingham University, which in itself was unusual for a female student in those days, but topped it by becoming the first woman to graduate there with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Physics.

After teaching science at several schools, she returned to Birmingham to study for a PhD in the medical applications of nuclear physics – and it was here that she met Martin, her future husband.

After gaining her PhD Jan decided to move into epidemiological research and secured a post at the Institute of Cancer at Sutton, in Surrey. It was at this time that she also began her studies in Naturopathy and Osteopathy.

Jan, who became President of the BNA in 2004, taking over from Michael Spenceley, was also an active member of many other professional and scientific organisations. She was an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Secretary of the International Cranial Association, and council member of the College of Medicine. She contributed to the regulation of, or improvements in regulation of osteopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists and complementary therapies. She has also been a trustee of the Research Council for Complementary Medicines and a working group member for the British Society of Integrative Oncology. In addition, she was Senior Research Fellow in Osteopathy at the University of Brighton, and has contributed to teaching and examining at a number of universities, including Brighton, Westminster and Thames Valley.

It was a special interest of hers that complementary health should have a regulatory framework equivalent to other health professions.

She focussed on improving the standing of complementary health professions, and advancing research and evidence base, particularly in relation to cancer, where she put much effort into developing a project to investigate the potential of mushroom therapy in reducing the adverse effects of cancer treatment.

As well as all this, and having a family to look after, Jan enjoyed singing with local choirs, developing her expression in art with art groups and artists and exploring her family history. She also continued to explore the spiritual side of life.

Cancer cells were detected in the fluid surrounding her heart early in 2015, and the prognosis was said to be serious, her cancer specialists giving her only a few months to live. She adopted both conventional and complementary approaches to the disease.

Martin said: “She was inspirational throughout, maintaining a sense of balance and humour, finding things to look forward to and helping her family to achieve their goals. We will all miss her terribly, but have been so lucky to have known someone so special.”


The above photograph was taken at a BNA conference, and features from left to right: Roger Newman Turner, Joe Goodman, Edzard Ernst, Janine Leach and David Potterton.