William Cutting was born in South India where his father was a medical missionary and his grandfather had been Principal of a Mission High School in Varanasi (Benares, North India). He trained in medicine at Edinburgh University where he met his wife, Margot, who was also training for medical mission work. They worked in rural India, Andhra Pradesh, for twelve years, developing simple child health services and using nutrition rehabilitation to help mothers feed their malnourished children back to health with local foods.
After six years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Tropical Child Health Unit of the Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street, he was appointed to the Department of Child Life and Health of the University of Edinburgh with special responsibility for international paediatric trainees. He also acted as consultant with WHO, UNICEF, British Council etc. His research interests were wide. At one time he was responsible for two small international teams. In Bangladesh they studied zinc supplementation and catch-up growth in malnourished children, and in Zaire, HIV infection in children. His work provided him much interesting international experience as well as many contacts and friends.
After retiring in 1998, his wide clinical and pastoral interests turned to the many and varied needs of the elderly. He started to collect material, write for and befriend a circle of older people. The paediatrician metamorphosed into a concerned, amateur geriatrician.