After a lifetime of medicine, a consultant surgeon and university dean has finally realised a personal passion with the publication of a new book.

Rodney J Croft, 70, of Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill, has had a lifelong interest in Sir Winston Churchill and his state and private funerals, and has now collected his knowledge into “Churchill’s Final Farewell”.

It is Mr Croft’s first history book, following a number of professional scientific articles and theses written over his career as a surgeon and advisor.

Mr Croft moved to Buckhurst Hill after studying at Cambridge in 1980, and has lived there with his wife Hazel since then.

He retired from the NHS at North Middlesex University Hospital in 2004, although he still works as a private consultant, and he is also a dean of the School of Medicine at St George’s University in Grenada, the third largest school of medicine in the world.

Now in his semi-retirement, Mr Croft has taken the chance to write about his great and longstanding interest in Sir Winston Churchill.

He said: “It is a long story which goes back about 65 years. It started when my mother, when I was four, I remember she said I was just like Winston Churchill because I was born six weeks premature.

“Then, in the 1960s, I watched together with 350 million other people Churchill’s funeral on BBC television, which had a major impact.”

Mr Croft also met the famous England cricketer Alec Bedser, who knew the 16th Duke of Norfolk, the organiser of Churchill’s state funeral.

Bedser told Mr Croft stories of the organisation of the state procession, and Mr Croft was encouraged to write these in to the quarterly Churchill publication Finest Hour.

Although he was not published in the journal, Mr Croft continued his research and eventually came to write the book before an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s funeral, Death of a Hero.

He said: “It went from notes and what was in my head, to manuscript in 15 days and 15 nights.

“I was getting out of bed at four and going to bed at two. That is what I did at university and that is what I did then.

“It is 34,000 words, not a huge tome but I was told that people like small, manageable books.”

Churchill's Final Farewell: The State and Private Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill is available online.