Page last updated at 05:47 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 06:47 UK

Defibrillator inventor honoured

Portable defibrillator
Pantridge introduced the coronary ambulance in the early 1960s

A portrait of world famous heart doctor and war hero Professor Frank Pantridge will be unveiled in Belfast later.

Irish rugby legend Dr Jack Kyle, who was a friend and colleague of the late cardiologist, will do the honours at a ceremony in Queen's University.

Prof Pantridge revolutionised cardiac treatment when he invented the portable defibrillator 40 years ago.

The Hillsborough-born physician, who died in 2004, was also honoured for his exploits during WWII.

He was awarded a Military Cross for his part in defending Singapore city from Japanese forces in 1940.

He was eventually captured in 1942 and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp, where he treated fellow inmates.

Dr Kyle, the star of Ireland first grand slam winning side of 1948, met his long-time friend when he was a medical student.

"We stayed in touch throughout the years and I was proud to call him a friend," he said.

Cardiologists from around the world and members of the Frank Pantridge Portrait Fund, who secured almost 300 donations for the portrait, will join some of the professor's family for the event in the Canada Room at Queen's.

The three quarter length oil on canvas portrait has been painted by Belfast-based artist Martin Wedge, a winner in the first Davy Irish Portrait awards last year.

Chair of the Frank Pantridge Portrait Committee, Professor John Morison said: "We are delighted with the portrait which commemorates Professor Pantridge's achievements and makes a fine addition to the pieces in the Great Hall.

"Thanks to generous donations from across the world we exceeded our target for the portrait and have been able to donate money to cardiac research."

The unveiling of the portrait takes place during a three-day symposium at Queen's running from Wednesday to Friday called Frank Pantridge's Legacy.

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