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Tributes to popular doctor who served town for 30 years

PUBLISHED: 06:22 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 31 July 2019

Former Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's family

Former Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's family

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A popular doctor who worked in Dereham for 30 years has died.

Former Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's familyFormer Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's family

Andy Marczewski, 66, was son of an Ely mother and Polish doctor who settled in Britain after the Second World War.

He studied medicine at the London Hospital and came to Norfolk in 1979 to do GP training in King's Lynn.

Dr Marczewski succeeded Dr Susan Palmer when she retired as a Dereham GP in 1981.

The practice, then at the back of Dr Palmer's home, Hill House, moved to the purpose-built Orchard Surgery.

Former Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's familyFormer Dereham doctor Andy Marczewski. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Marczewski's family

Dr Marczewski retired from the practice as senior partner in May 2011.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer just eight months later.

His sister-in-law Alex Hurrell said: "During his illness Andy used his trademark enthusiasm and humour to encourage everyone he met not to put off doing what they wanted to do.

"He practised what he preached throughout his life, taking many courses in traditional crafts and becoming highly skilled."

Ten years ago he set up a local "bodgers" group which still meets weekly in his Yaxham garden.

Dr Marczewski taught members to make everything from wooden spoons to chairs using pole lathes and shave horses which they created themselves.

He and his wife Katy, who retired in 2016 as a nurse at the UEA medical practice, were among the founders of the Yaxham Woodland Group in 2008, set up to find some "wild-space" land for the community.

The group took over the maintenance of the parish council-owned Pinns Corner green area. It became a community focus with monthly get-togethers for projects including planting, footpath work, scrub clearance, scything and apple pressing. Andy would also teach bushcraft and woodworking skills to anyone interested. The group still meets, on the first Saturday of each month.

Dr Marczewski, who rowed at university, had always been interested in boat building and made a traditional coracle many years ago which he used to get through Yaxham when the village was flooded one autumn.

After his cancer diagnosis, he was a founder member of CRAB - the Coastal Rowing Association of Blakeney - and helped build their first traditional St Ayles skiff, named Hoi Larntan.

Dr Marczewski and fellow retired Norfolk GP Adrian Hodge made the oars. Although his illness made it difficult to row, Andy coxed in the "Skiffie Worlds" in Ullapool and Strangford Lough in 2013 and 2016.

Dr Hodge said: "Andy excelled as a cox, driving his crews to greater achievements than they thought possible with a commanding voice, humour and guile."

Dr Marczewski's younger son, Jack, played for Norwich Rugby Club in the noughties and during those years he co-ordinated the club's international youth tours.

In a Facebook tribute to him, club secretary Andy Pott said Dr Marczewski had organised "superb tours to Holland, Italy (twice) and Belgium" for the youth team and their parents, as well as being the team's doctor.

"He also had a superb sense of humour," said Mr Pott, recalling two instances.

He said: "In a match against Ipswich a boy was injured. The referee, who spent the entire game at least 40 metres behind the play, eventually got to the scene and ushered away Andy and others who were there.

"Within a few seconds it was clear that he had no idea what to do and Andy quietly said to him 'When you think it appropriate to ask for a doctor, he is here'.

Mr Pott said: "The other instance occurred during the tour in Holland when a player received a knee injury. I suggested that we ask Simon Donell, one of the world's specialist knee surgeons, who was on the next-door pitch to come over and take a look.

"Andy said 'I'm afraid that you don't understand the way the medical profession works. A doctor can go to his patient but if you want to see a consultant the patient has to be taken to him.'"

Dr Marczewski leaves his wife, three children and two grandchildren. Details of his funeral are available from Littleproud and Son funeral directors, Dereham. Tel: 01362 695458.

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