1.       Gopal Lakhanpal
2.       Retiring President's Address
3.       New President's Address
4.       Retired Member - Donald Black
5.       Retired Member - Nat Lalljee
6.       President's Charity

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We are here to mark with sadness the passing, and to honour the life of Gopal, one of life's gentlemen. Gopal was brought up in India - he lived through the terrible times in the late 40s at the partition of India when riots and killings were a part of life in the Punjab .

He qualified in 1960 from Amritsar and as a student his ability and precision with his hands was noted by his teachers and a career in surgery became likely. He and Indira were married in 1962 and moved to this country. The girls were born when he was working in Wales but he moved to Manchester in 1968 where he held registrar and senior registrar posts. He excelled professionally and his consultants held high hopes of promotion to the consultant body there. However, to our great benefit, Gopal preferred to take the certainty of this post here than wait in hope of a teaching hospital post 

He started here in 1975 and very soon established the reputation that he held to the end - that of a meticulous ophthalmic surgeon of the highest ability. Latterly, his work with the laser has been especially admired. He had the ability to inspire the affection of the nurses and juniors with whom he worked and he was very generous to his junior staff in time, support and hospitality. I had a close working relationship with him. Early in his time he offered to take a special interest in the eye problems of patients with the rheumatic disorders and so I have referred literally hundreds of patients to him. He has always seen them quickly if necessary despite a huge work load and never grudgingly.

The number of people here is the most tangible tribute to his working life. But there were other aspects of his life. As well as the man who loved his family, his home and his dogs, he was plagued by illness. Illness brought out the splendid attributes of his character. He never complained - he never said why me - he was never bitter. His marvellous acceptance of his approaching death led me to begin to see the strength and depth of his beliefs as a Hindu. I realised that he knew that this life is a journey to the next. I also realised that Christians do not have a monopoly of belief in life after death.

Religion for Hindus, and I quote, 'is a tradition and a heritage, a way of life and a mode of thought'. 'The Hindu is inclined to revere the divine in every manifestation and is doctrinally tolerant'. Here lies the answer to Gopal's patience, to his politeness and tolerance and to his serenity and confidence in the last few weeks. Thus we are honouring the passing and celebrating the life of a first class ophthalmic surgeon, a dedicated, loyal colleague and friend and a truly gentle gentleman who personified the tolerance and patience of a Hindu.

Richard Taylor


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It has been a great pleasure to me to be your President for the past Centenary Year. My wife and I have many happy memories from the events of the year. To start the celebrations after the memorable AGM at the venue of the inaugural meeting, we had the Centenary lecture delivered by Sir Richard Bayliss. In the words of one of our retired members this was a 'proper lecture'. The historical meeting was second to none and our thanks are due to Dr. Joss Williams, Dr. Graeme Wilcox and Dr. Mark Mantle for the hours of research they put into preparing their papers that showed how incredibly rich is our own local medical history.

The climax of the week was the centenary dinner. The Gainsborough House Hotel looked after us very well and I am sure we will all remember the peals of laughter that punctuated Sir Michael Drury's reminiscences of his terrifying days as RSO at KGH. In totally different mode after Christmas we all invited our juniors and trainees to a Jazz evening. Well over 100 members and guests were magnificently entertained by the Zenith Hot Stompers. The evening was graced by the presence of Dr. and Mrs. (Silver-heels) Eeles. Mrs Eeles exotic evening trousers were decorated with bows at the ankles which accentuated the intricacies of her foot-work. If our other professional, pathological dancers, Dr. and Mrs. (Twinkle-toes) Lewis had been able to be present as well, our younger dancers would never have dared to set foot on the floor. As it was, it took them an awful long time to pluck up courage to start but then the evening was an enormous success.

In May our Annual Dinner at Spring Grove House was a sell-out. We all turned up with our treasures and Mr. Henry Sandon was indefatigable with his kind personal assessments of everything put before him. After dinner he kept us all spellbound with his memories as a potaholic and his comments about a selection of his own and some of our pots. I still do not know if I did the right thing by drawing the evening to a close after Mr. Sandon had been talking non-stop for about an hour and a half. My excuse was that I was thinking of those of us younger members with baby-sitters to consider.

The annual cricket match was again enjoyed by players and spectators alike. I honestly do not know who actually won as the weird method of scoring was incomprehensible to all but those with a maths degree. It has indeed been a memorable year. Our very sincere thanks are due to several members. Dr. David Malcomson has organised the events with his usual efficiency. When things go very smoothly, it is easy to forget the efforts that have gone on before to ensure this. We do really appreciate all that David has done for us this year. Dr. Wendy Kingston has kept the minutes for us again - we do thank her for their clarity, completeness and yet commendable brevity. Dr. David Starkie has again looked after our finances. Not all of you will know how indebted we were to his wife, when still his fiancee, who produced her cheque book to pay your Society's fee to one of our speakers. I do hope he has remembered to reimburse her! We must also thank again Dr. Graeme Wilcox and Dr. Barrie Davies for the newsletter which has reached number 9 and really goes from strength to strength. 

I have to record one very sad event, the death of Mr. Gopal Lakhanpal; the lovely memorial service and the huge gathering at this were a fitting tribute to his life and work for the people of Kidderminster . Two very happy events have occurred, the marriages of our minute secretary and of our treasurer. Our best wishes and congratulations go to the happy couples. Finally, I do wish the society long life and continued strength in the face of the continued attacks on the National Health Service as we have been fortunate to know it. I hope that the society may go some way in preserving the unity and morale of its members.

Richard Taylor

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Many thanks for inviting me to be your president for the Society's 101st year. I would very much like to congratulate Dr. Taylor for a very successful centenary year and to thank him for all the effort he put into it. Also I would like to thank the existing committee and the newsletter editors.

I have arranged a series of events for my year including a further Jazz event, a Trivia Quiz, the Annual Dinner, the Cricket Match and a possible speaker in February. This Society can only remain successful with everybody's support. Now we are in a time of rapid and often turbulent change, with enormous uncertainties it is more important than ever for all medical staff to remain committed to these social occasions so that the camaraderie developed over the past 100 years between GPs, Consultants and other members of the medical professions, is not destroyed by the 'new look' NHS.

I thank you for your support.

Janet Adams

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I came to Stourport just before the start of the NHS in 1948. My father and Grandfather had both been GPs and I had been an assistant in general practice myself in 1938 / 9 until the second World War interrupted this. At that time, 17 York Street was a small panel practice. My then partner was a sick man, became unfit for work and retired soon after. So I found myself faced with the re-organisation of a somewhat run-down and neglected one man practice. I set out to run it on much the same lines as before. This consisted of 2 surgeries daily. The evening surgery was the most important one as it enabled working folk to attend without losing time at work. Visiting was important in a panel practice as not all patients had the means to get to the surgery when ill. There was not an appointments system, nor did it seem necessary. The Health service introduced one great benefit for us in that everyone was now included and so we did not have to charge our patients. There was relatively little interference from above and we were able to organise our work as we thought best. It is interesting to recall that at the time the fuss made by the local medical committee when I told them that I would not be living at No 17. It was considered most unusual and only approved with reluctance that I lived in Arley Kings. The 'Doctor's House' was a port of call for patients out of surgery hours and my wife (SRN) coped with much of this for a number of years. The telephone exchange was always most helpful in transferring calls when required. In due course, some afternoon clinics were introduced - such as immunisation, ante-natal and post-natal sessions and part time staff were found for this which gradually led to secretarial staff on a more permanent basis. In those days there were a number of domicilliary confinements but, over the years, these diminished in favour of hospital deliveries. There were two great sources of help in the district nurse and midwife both of whom were invaluable and much appreciated. Also, health visitors appeared on the scene and whose duties seemed to me to be somewhat obscure. Once I really did upset Colin Starkie (our MOH) by asking him what they did - however, they are now an integral part of the NHS.

In addition, there was some outside work available such as public vaccinator and examining factory surgeon. The latter led me to some interesting places such as the Baggeridge Brick Works in Hartlebury, the Vigorn Tie Factory in Waresley and the Anglo-Enamel Works (generally known as Thanglo) in Stourport. When Dr. Craig retired from the Blakebrook, I took over a small maternity unit for a while. Sam Wadsworth kindly gave such anaesthetics as were required. When this was closed I was offered a post on the geriatric wards which I held until Bill Parker took over as consultant. In addition, I joined the staff of the Lucy Baldwin Maternity Hospital where I worked for some 20 tears. Thus work at first was very much a 24 hour, 7 days a week stint for some years and night calls were rather frequent as a result of the maternity commitments in particular.

But the practice gradually settled down and, in a few years, I felt able totake on trainee assistants (I was virtually one myself just a few years ago) and later, my first partner Mike Tibbetts when we had to reorganise the surgery to accommodate him. When he .Ieft for Canada , Joss Williams took his place and as the practice prospered we were joined by Janet Hughes. By then the premises were quite inadequate but we were fortunate in being offered accommodation in the new health centre that was planned for Stourport. We moved into it in 1970 and not long after that we were joined by Richard Horton as a fourth partner. At about that time I reverted to part time (having been ill for a while) and I finally retired fully in 1982, when I was 70 years old. Not long after I came to Stourport, Carmichael Mackie put me up for membership of the Kidderminster Medical Society (nomination and approval was necessary in those days) and this was an introduction to my medical colleagues in the district and led to many friendships. I was also a founder member of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

I doubt if I could now cope with the bewildering re-organisation of the NHS and so I am quite happy with retirement and to spend my time with my wife Jean who, in those far off days, gave up so much of her time for the sake of the practice and I still go fishing once a week.

Donald Black


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I was born in Bombay in 1928, educated there in the Jesuit school and college and qualified M.B. B.s. from Grant Medical College in 1952. Surgical House Officer on the professorial unit and casualty officer at the J.J. Hospital was! followed by senior house officer to the senior surgeon at the Tata Memorial Hospital for cancer and a year of research as Ewing Clinical Research Scholar (project - exfoliative cytology in the early diagnosis of cancer of the oesophagus). I arrived in the U.K. in September 1956 on borrowed money and studied hard and passed the dreaded primary F.R.C.S. in February 1957 and did a rotating SHO in Hull and East Yorkshire and saved up money and leave for Final Fellowship (there was no study leave or payment for courses). After several locum posts and 4 months of courses and study, I passed the final F.R.C.S. in November 1958. With about 6 old pence left in the kitty after I had paid the train and taxi fare I arrived at Sheffield City General Hospital to do another locum.

Two years of surgical registrar at Hull Royal Infirmary followed by more locums and then RSO at Kidderminster General Hospital , Thoracic Registrar at the Childrens Hospital and Queen Elizabeth, Senior Registrar at Selly Oak and Hereford , locum lecturer at the Queen Elizabeth and finally back to Kidderminster as assistant to Mr. James. My Consultant appointment followed in September 1970. 

I remember well my first meeting with Mr. Doran on his operating day on Tuesday morning in the Mill Street operating theatre. I noticed something drop out of his spectacle case and as I bent down to pick it up he said 'don't, it is':T1Y dice that I have rolled to decide which operation I am doing for this patient'. He explained how the dice helped him to avoid bias in choice of one out of three operations he was investigating for duodenal ulcer. I have enjoyed my work at Kidderminster which has been varied, interesting and challenging. It has been a privilege to work with such nice and helpful staff and friendly colleagues and general practitioners. I particularly enjoyed my six years as clinical tutor.

My family has been a source of great support. The three children have left the nest but they come back regularly and keep in touch. I took a 24 hour retirement on 1 st December 1993 and came back to run the A&E department and 'lumps and bumps' work until we move into phase 6, probably by May 1995. I enjoy gardening, theatre, music, walking, keep-fit (aerobics and yoga) and high finance!

Nat Laljee

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At the Annual General Meeting there was a discussion regarding the possibility of an annual charity donation from Society funds. It was eventually decided that it would be preferable to have a President's Charity, being a medical charity nominated by the incoming president. The funds would be raised independently of subscriptions for example there could be a special charity evening or a raffle at the dinner etc. It was however agreed that charitable monies from the year 1993 / 1994 be once again given to Dr. Phyllis Oxborrow for expenditure at her mission hospital.

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