David Chase: Family doctor’s service to Royal British Legion in Suffolk

David Chase, who died on his 89th birthday

David Chase, who died on his 89th birthday - Credit: submitted

A long-serving GP in north Suffolk, David Chase, died on his 89th birthday at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Married for more than 60 years, he and his wife received diamond jubilee greetings from the Queen last year.

He was also one of the longest-serving branch presidents of the Royal British Legion and under his leadership it became one of the most active in Suffolk.

As a sole practitioner, he took over a rural practice in 1958 in seven villages in north Suffolk when the local doctor also had to deal with routine local emergencies as well as night and weekend duties.

Born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, David Robert Chase went to Watford Grammar School, and served during the second world war in the King's Dragon Guards between 1943 and 1947.

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He saw action in the Middle East, north Africa and then Italy.

His wartime experiences led to his decision to train as a doctor.

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He qualified at London's Charing Cross Hospital, where he also met and married a nurse, Valerie.

After working as an assistant GP in Gloucestershire, he came to Fressingfield in August 1958.

His first port of call was a meal at the village pub, the Fox & Goose, which cost half a crown.

In those early years, he often had several night calls and would also treat many patients, who visited his home.

The arrival of partners Brian Goodge and Sandra Holmes eased the burden of the life of a country GP and when he retired in 1987, he was able to embark on a period of travel and exploration.

Retired Norwich consultant Dr Alan Green said that he was a 'caring GP with a good wide knowledge'.

In the days the NHS developed ever-more bureaucratic systems, he was often able to secure almost immediate access to consultants, who even went out on so-called domiciliary visits to assess whether patients needed hospital treatment.

He played an active role in village life in many organisations and was a scout leader and also a long-serving governor at Stradbroke School. Invited to become president of Fressingfield branch of the Royal British Legion in 1962, he completed 49 years in post.

A church warden and a lay elder, he really enjoyed singing in the church choir, and actively supported the Fressingfield Music Festival.

But his hobby and escape was sailing, and he spent many a happy afternoon on the Alde.

With his wife, they started running the coffee break every Tuesday more than 16 years ago.

He leaves a widow, Valerie, a son, Philip, who lives at Harleston, and daughters, Christine and Nicola, and eight grandchildren.

A funeral was held at Fressingfield parish church.

Michael Pollitt

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