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Tributes to 'brave' GP who campaigned for health services for three decades

PUBLISHED: 08:40 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 27 July 2019

Dr Richard Kell. PHOTO: Dr Annette Abbott

Dr Richard Kell. PHOTO: Dr Annette Abbott

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A GP and health campaigner who fought motor neurone disease with "dignity and bravery" has died aged 64.

Cutlers Hill Surgery, in Halesworth, where Dr Richard Kell was a partner for 29 years. Photo: GoogleCutlers Hill Surgery, in Halesworth, where Dr Richard Kell was a partner for 29 years. Photo: Google

Dr Richard Kell spent almost three decades as a partner of Cutlers Hill Surgery in Halesworth until 2016.

As well as his role at the surgery, he campaigned for health services in the town and supported local health charities.

Dr Annette Abbott, his partner at the practice for 25 years, said: "He had struggled with the awful effects of MND with dignity and bravery, maintaining his calm demeanour and sense of humour throughout.

"He was greatly loved and respected by his colleages and patients.

"He will be remembered for his wisdom, compassion, kindness and holistic care of patients."

Born in Wisbech to a farming family, he initially attended Framingham College before training in medicine at the London Hospital.

Starting in London, his work would take him to Manchester and Dubai, before he settled in Halesworth as a GP.

He joined the team of GPs in 1987, and cared for patients in Halesworth and surrounding villages as a partner for 29 years, as well as working at the Patrick Stead Hospital.

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Dr Kell also worked as a police surgeon for 20 years and was a trainer for new GPs and medical students.

Dr Abbott said: "Richard worked and campaigned very hard to save local health services in Halesworth, from the maternity beds in Patrick Stead Hospital, which were closed in the late 1980s, to the in-patient beds which sadly closed in 2016.

"He was involved in the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, now called the Pear Tree Fund, from its beginnings in 1989 and chaired it for 20 years.

"The Pear Tree Centre will soon be completed adjacent to Cutlers Hill to provide a one-stop-shop offering support, information, counselling, finance and benefits advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

"He also set up the charity Halesworth Health in 2011 to safeguard and future-proof health and care services in and around Halesworth.

"He dedicated a huge amount of time to these charities both before and after retiring.

"After retirement, he volunteered for Doctors of the World, an independent, humanitarian movement working at home and abroad to empower excluded people to access healthcare.

"Outside of work, Richard was a keen sportsman, playing hockey, tennis and squash, and he loved travelling, sea swimming and spending time in the countryside.

"He expressed a wish for no memorial service, and only to be remembered during a walk or swim in Walberswick, and his family would like to respect his wishes."

Donations in his memory can be made to the Pear Tree Fund or to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

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