Local Face: Colin Riley

  |  Published: Apr 1st 2013

Colin Riley met  Diana in the first week of Medical School at University College Hospital in 1948. They qualified in 1953 and became House Officers at UCH  during which time they never left the hospital but were on call 24 hours every day.  They married in 1954.

Colin had an extra qualification in Obstetrics and Gynaecology so was posted to PM RAF Hospital Halton as a specialist where he ran the obstetric unit for three years, delivering many babies and operating on both local service dependants and civilians.

He entered General Practice and did one year GP Training at Princes Risborough qualifying for his MRCGP.  He was invited to join Drs Orme and McConnel in their practice in Wendover, (Dr McConnel being Dr Rory Reed’s grandfather!)

Diana worked at Halton Sick Quarters in between having children, alongside the delightful Dr Hussey, who was with Shackleton on the Antartic Expedition.

In 1964 Dr Orme retired, and sadly Dr McConnel fell ill and could no longer work.  They bought The Red House which seemed enormous and far too expensive and moved in May and happily were joined by Tony Garrod, and later, Dr Ballantine.

In 1965 the District Council arrived with chainsaws to cut down  the trees along the road so they could turn the area into a car park. Dr Riley persuaded them that the trees belonged to the Lord of the Manor and they had no right to chop them down. Thus was born the Wendover Society.

At that time Dr Riley was very involved with the PCC in helping  organise the Stewardship Scheme raising funds for the St Mary’s Church Maintenance programme and was also on the local NHS committee and was able to apply for one of the new Health Centres, as they were desperate for space. They moved in on 1 April 1973 and were joined by Dr Richard Leeper.

Diana meanwhile, having a few more children, studied for and obtained higher degrees in Psychiatry and was able to accept Consultancy posts at Stone, (later Tindal), High Wycombe and UCH.

The Rileys started the Youth Club in the early seventies and Diana became the first President, originally at the Memorial Hall, and later at the “Shed”, on the school campus. By 1986 a new purpose built Centre on the campus was a welcome and valued addition.

Since retirement Dr Riley has helped run the Friends of Wendover Health Centre, and is a trustee for St Anne’s Hall having been involved in its refurbishment, while still organising the Village collection for Lifeboats due this year in mid April, and has  been busy as the President of the Youth Centre  as well. He is most grateful to the Lionel Able Smith Trust and the Parish Council together with great support from many groups and individuals, for their financial support for the Youth Club.

He is also involved with the new fund raising group for the Iain Rennie Hospice in the Home to whom he feels he owes an enormous debt for helping  look after Diana during her illness.

Finally Dr Riley is honoured to have been elected as the new President of The Wendover Society and continues to enjoy life in this attractive and interesting village, supported by his wonderful and ever increasing family.

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