Tributes to doctor who helped set up Sidmouth Health Centre

'A lastinf contribution to Sidmouth': David Hall

'A lastinf contribution to Sidmouth': David Hall - Credit: Archant

A WELL-RESPECTED doctor who played a key role in the founding of Sidmouth Health Centre has been remembered for his ‘lasting contribution’ to the town.

Family, friends and former colleagues celebrated the life of Dr David Hall, who died aged 83 on January 8, at a well-attended thanksgiving service at the parish church on Monday, January 20.

He was a practising GP and partner in Sidmouth for three decades and his skills in obstetrics also saw him deliver countless babies at the hospital.

Dr Philip Atkinson, one of his former practice partners, led the tributes.

David spent his early years in the RAF before moving into general practice and came to the town in 1960.

There were three GP practices at the time and David was an integral contributor to the creation of the unified Blackmore Drive surgery - then considered pioneering.

“David spotted a plot for the proposed centre. I think he got a ladder and peeped over the wall in Blackmore Gardens and saw what was possible and the site was bought,” said Dr Atkinson. “His input was fundamental.”

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“My medical memories are of his lasting contributions to this town.

“He was a jovial and lovable friend and Sidmouth will not seem the same without him.

“A family doctor, with a fine bedside manner who gave careful thought to his patients and many will always be grateful for this and particularly for his kindness. His often used parting words were not goodbye but ‘happy days’.”

Mary MacKinnon who was a midwife in Sidmouth Hospital in 1965 said David was a ‘highly skilled in obstetrics and a great support’ in her first sister’s post.

His daughter, Alison, described her father as a ‘valued and well respected doctor who loved living here and being part of the community’.

“It was fitting that he died in Sidmouth Hospital, with impeccable care from the nursing staff, where he had paced the corridors for many years, helping families face similar situations, and above all, his joy of delivering babies,” she said.

“He’d be stopped whilst out shopping by a proud mother introducing her children. Dad would beam with delight saying not only had he brought her children into the world, but also the mother!” She added that David felt ‘immense pride’ when his son, Duncan, followed in his footsteps as a doctor in Sidmouth. Duncan, now a practice partner in Sidmouth himself, recalled his father’s love of sailing which spanned 25 years. “I sailed across the Channel with him on many occasions through both calm and gale force winds often accompanied by his loyal friends Oliver and Peter Bagwell,” he said.

“He sailed around the Mediterranean, raced to the Azores and despite being knocked unconscious for four hours and feeling considerably worse for wear, managed to sail back.

“He later crossed the Atlantic with Harold Fish.”

David later combined his two loves of sailing and medicine by being the ship’s doctor on many cruises.

He was also a keen golfer and captain of Sidmouth Golf Club and was part of the team that won the Palaret Cup.

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