Norfolk pharmacist Scott does a dance of celebration
- Credit: Archant
A north Norfolk pharmacist went back to his Scottish roots, at a surprise celebration organised by tartan-clad staff to mark his 30th anniversary at Lloyds chemist, Sheringham.
Scott Murray, 57, arrived at work last Thursday to the strains of Scottish music echoing around the Station Road shop.
After treating staff to a demonstration of the Caledonian country dance the Gay Gordons with the help of fellow pharmacist Jacynta Chong, he was presented with a box of shortbread, a pharmacy book and a cake decorated with medicine bottles, pills and a mortar and pestle.
Born in the small seaside town of Girvan, in Ayrshire, Mr Murray started work as a part-time butcher's delivery boy at the age of 11.
He left school at 16 to work at his local chemist, where one of his jobs was to make giant-sized batches of calendula ointment – used by farmers to keep flies off their sheep.
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After gaining a pharmacy degree at Strathclyde University – where one of his tasks saw him asked to decipher 100 prescriptions written by doctors - Mr Murray completed a pre-registration qualifying year, dividing his time between the Liverpool base of a global healthcare company and Leighton General Hospital, in Crewe.
He realised his ambition of working in a community pharmacy when, after registering, he took a job as assistant to the superintendent at Macpherson's, a large shop in Salcoats, Ayrshire.
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A large part of his job involved mixing medicines and making up remedies - from eye drops to ointments - in a back room, but he was occasionally called out to the front of the shop to assist customers.
'The town had many shady characters,' Mr Murray remembered. 'One day, a customer asked for some 'senneroan', which I'd never heard of.'
Further enquiries revealed the man – who had a broad Scots accent - was racing his greyhound and wanted something to 'send her on'.
'He left empty-handed,' Mr Murray said.
After a stint managing a small independent pharmacy in Kilmarnock, dad-of-two Mr Murray moved to north Norfolk with his wife Sheila, to work at the Cromer branch of Savory and Moore (now Lloyds) in 1985.
Two years later, he took over at Sheringham, where he has since become a much-trusted and highly respected member of the community.
Mr Murray said the National Pharmaceutical Agency's 'Ask Your Pharmacist' campaign of 1980 had led to the job of a community-based pharmacist changing 'beyond recognition'.
Four refits over the years have meant the shop now has two consultation rooms, where pharmacists can carry out medication reviews, do blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screening, and advise people with concerns ranging from pain control, to stress management and skin disorders.
'People are referred to us by the GPs' after-hours service, or by the 111 service,' Mr Murray said. 'So, whereas, before, pharmacists largely worked behind the scenes, they now spend a lot more of their time with patients.
'I think that it is important that pharmacy is looking forward, and one of the good things about north Norfolk is the communities that exist within the towns, the way we support each other and the way that competing pharmacies communicate with each other.'
Mr Murray praised his staff team for their 'patience and dedication'.
'They are incredibly hard-working and, over and over again, I hear customers how much they have been helped and supported by them,' he said.