Dr Paul Barclay

A former GP who received a medal for bravery after defying 20ft waves to treat an injured man at sea has died at the age of 90. Dr Paul Barclay was one of Cromer's best-known figures - first as a GP in the town for 30 years, then during decades of public service.

A former GP who received a medal for bravery after defying 20ft waves to treat an injured man at sea has died at the age of 90.

Dr Paul Barclay was one of Cromer's best-known figures - first as a GP in the town for 30 years, then during decades of public service.

He won the RNLI's bronze medal following an explosion on Lowestoft-based trawler the Boston Jaguar in November 1973.

With 20ft waves and force eight winds, Dr Barclay - the on-call doctor - joined lifeboat crew member Richard Davies in jumping from the lifeboat to the trawler.


You may also want to watch:


He administered first aid to a stricken crew member in the late-night incident 37 miles off Cromer - despite suffering from seasickness.

Dr Barclay had a long association with the RNLI in Cromer, serving as duty doctor, honorary secretary, chairman and president.

Most Read

Tony Webster, chairman of Cromer RNLI, said: "He was a wonderful man whose first consideration was always for others rather than himself. He was greatly respected by everybody who knew him."

Dr Barclay was born on October 3 1915 in Weston-Super-Mare, where his mother was an evacuee from Norwich to escape the Zeppelin raids.

He was proud of his Scottish and Norwich ancestry, and was always grieved that the evacuation meant that Weston-Super-Mare - rather than Norwich - was registered as his place of birth.

He attended prep school at Southwold, then Rugby School. In 1935 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, before moving to St Bartholomew's Hospital to gain his medical qualification in 1938.

He was houseman at the hospital and met Biddy, whom he married in 1941. Mrs Barclay died in 1999.

From 1941-46 Dr Barclay was on active service in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

He was awarded the Military Cross while with the 2nd Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders with Montgomery's 8th Army in North Africa. He also served in Sicily and France.

After demobilisation, Dr Barclay joined Dr Fawkes's GP practice in Cromer and was initially appointed to the medical staff of the town's hospital to work as an anaesthetist.

He remained a GP in the town until his retirement in 1979, having jointly planned the development of the new Overstrand Road surgery.

During his professional life he joined the Territorial Army, acted as medical officer for the Royal British Legion, was president of Cromer Horticultural Society and Cromer Cricket Club, became chairman of Cromer Town Council and was active in Cromer's twinning with the French town of Crest.

In 1977/78 he was president of the Norwich Medical Chirurgical Society.

In retirement, Dr Barclay served on North Norfolk District Council for 20 years, became a governor of Cromer High School, worked with the local branch of the Parkinson's Society and remained a staunch supporter and committee member of the Friends of Cromer Hospital.

He leaves two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.

t There will be a private cremation followed by a thanksgiving service at Cromer Parish Church on June 1 at 2.15pm.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter