Arthur Dinn: Waveney Valley doctor drove millions of miles visiting patients

Dr Arthur Dinn, Harleston GP for more than 30 years.

Dr Arthur Dinn, Harleston GP for more than 30 years. - Credit: submitted

Long-serving doctor Arthur Dinn, who has died peacefully aged 90 after a long illness, drove more than one million miles visiting his patients.

He had a succession of soft-top Morris Minors, which were a familiar sight for many years as the Harleston doctor went on his rounds also covering the seven villages of the Saints and towards Diss.

Arthur James Dinn, who was born in London, qualified in 1946 and then spent two years' National Service in the Royal Navy. He became a ship's doctor in HMS Vengeance and went to the Arctic and also to South Africa, where he met and later married Helen.

He started studying medicine at the London Hospital in 1941 and also won the Price scholarship, awarded for the most outstanding medical student.

During the Second World War, he was sent to Cambridge but returned to complete his training, including midwifery in London. Invited to join the neurology team, led by Russell (later Lord) Brain, he declined the offer because he wanted to become a GP in a country practice.


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His family roots in East Anglia, his mother lived in Walberswick, led in 1953 to a junior partnership with the Harleston practice, then run by Doctors Edward and Ruth Rainey. When they retired in the late 1950s, he took over as sole practitioner, running the surgery and dispensary from his home in the town. While on duty, he had to remain within earshot of the telephone, and his wife also acted as unpaid receptionist as patients called, often at all hours of the day and night. He also delivered hundreds of badies over the years in their homes in an era where the GP was expected to give practical maternity care.

He retired after more than 30 years in practice in 1984.

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Retired Norwich consultant, Alan Green, said: 'He certainly was a first class GP, and as were most GPs of that era, got to know consultants well and tried to get the best of treatments for his patients.'

When St Mary's, Redenhall, where he worshipped, was threatened with closure, he led a fund-raising programme. He was chairman of the Friends of St Mary for many years and also on the parochial church council.

He was a volunteer at Ranworth Broad and wrote nature notes for the parish magazine, partly encouraged by his friend, the naturalist, Ted Ellis. He and his wife were supporters of Norwich Philharmonic Concerts and of Music in Country Churches and he was president of Harleston Players.

Married for 58 years, he leaves a widow, Helen, three children, James, Catherine and Robert, and six grand-children. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Dinn.

A funeral service will take place at St Mary's Church, Redenhall, on Wednesday, October 23at 11am. Michael Pollitt

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