As a long-serving Gorleston GP he was able to make a difference to the lives of thousands of individual patients.

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But as a charity worker in Africa Dr David Watson can only get to grips with problems in a more general way, helping whole populations blighted by poverty and disease.

Such is the scale of the suffering and the severity of the unchecked medical problems that are presented to him every time he visits, success is measured in broader terms with the aim of making life better for a stricken generation.

For the popular doctor, now a grandfather, who served at Gorleston’s Central Surgery for 34 years, is countering an otherwise restful retirement with visits to southern Uganda – the so-called “Garden of Africa” and the school he sponsors in Kihihi.

There, about 300 children receive an education and healthcare in the hope it will make a difference to people worn down by hardship and the conflicts of its volatile neighbours. For Dr Watson it is rewarding work and also the fulfilment of a life-long ambition to follow his parents into the missionary sphere.

“My parents were both missionaries in China and I had it in my mind that I would end up doing something like that.

“I didn’t, but I had a number of friends who did things in their retirement and I thought I could do it too.

“A lot of people there want to see a doctor and I have had over 100 in a day with the sorts of things you only ever normally see in textbooks.

“Women work terribly hard. They work in the fields and have 10 to 12 children.

“Their backs just get worn out and there is virtually nothing you can do except give them painkillers.

“You see tumours and cancers that have gone too far and horrible things like burns victims whose scarring has not been treated and children paralysed by polio or as a result of vaccinations done in the wrong place.

“In Uganda and Africa generally they are beautifully nice people but they are used to suffering.

“Their lives are filled with tragedies that we do not experience but they are delightful, lovely people.”

Dr Watson’s involvement comes through the Fields of Life charity. To find out more, to donate, or to sponsor a child visit www.fieldsoflife.org

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