John Brooks

John is a 79 year old retired former lithographic printer who lives in Hanham, Bristol. He has had multiple operations on both of his knees including removal of cartilage, primary knee replacement and revision knee replacements on both sides. John has also acted as carer to his wife Sandra, who herself has undergone a revision knee replacement on her right knee, and a partial knee replacement on her left knee. John and Sandra have 3 children, 7 grandchildren and one great grandson plus 2 step grandchildren. His hobbies continue to include gardening and golf.



David Hillebrandt is a semi-retired GP based in Devon. He still enjoys doing locum work, attending serious medical cases and acute trauma as a Devon BASICS volunteer working with our ambulance service and acting as a mountain medicine advisor. At medical school he had no specific interest in orthopaedics but after over 50 years of mountaineering on most continents of the word his knees wore out and both were replaced by the team at RD&E Hospital. This has enabled him to resume ski holidays with his family and he regularly stress tests his implants with careless falls on piste. As a gesture of thanks some new rock climbs on the sea cliffs of Cornwall have been named after the Princess Elizabeth Unit in Exeter. He hopes there will still be an NHS in ten year’s time when more of his body parts may need replacing.


Bill Rowles


Bill Rowles is a 68 year old Bristolian who has been married for 35 years, with two children. Bill worked in manual occupations all his life, retiring early at the age of 60 because of back problems. He had his first knee replacement in 1998, at the relatively young age of 48 years; the operation enabled him to continue working for a number of years whilst his family were still young. He developed further problems with the knee after 10 years, leading to revision surgery in 2008, performed by Mr James Murray. This knee continues to serve him well to date! Bill hopes his experiences will provide valuable input to his steering group from a patient's perspective.


Ian Tanner

Ian Tanner is a 55 year old man, who lives in Torbay with wife Karen, a retired Occupational Therapist and NHS Manager. He worked as an IT manager for many years before making a career change into property development (restoring old properties). Ian has a 36 year history of knee injury and multiple (approximately 15) operations for ligament repair,  osteotomy, external fixators, knee replacement, knee wash-outs for infection. He joined the steering group midway through a 2-stage revision of his knee replacement, delayed due to having a stroke a week before the planned operation date. In the past, had played rugby and american football in his 20’s and continued various sporting activity for as long as possible. He also has experience of healthcare services due to his co-morbidities. These include a fused wrist for non-healing scaphoid and associated arthritis, massive rotator cuff repair of right shoulder ligaments, hypertension, over-weight, and depression.


Polly Tarrant

Polly trained as a nurse at Guys hospital in London and has spent most of her working life within the NHS. She also holds a degree in Psychology and a post graduate diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice. From 2007 until her (early!) retirement in 2016 she worked with various Trusts as a Lead Research Nurse in association with the Wellcome Trust and the Clinical Research Network. Polly also has osteoarthritis, and has greatly benefitted from two knee replacements. In fact, there is a definite family trend as her brother has had both his knees and hips replaced, her husband has had a hip replacement and is awaiting a new knee, and her daughter has also had major knee surgery! Both her professional and personal histories have given Polly a keen awareness of research into arthritis, particularly joint replacement, and of the importance of patient involvement in promoting and developing research. She currently volunteers as a Peer Facilitator with Arthritis Research and is a member of the Exeter Knee Research Unit’s Patient Research Panel.