Local Face: Richard and Anne Leeper

  |  Published: Feb 1st 2012

Richard’s parents were based in Surrey whilst Anne’s were in Worcestershire so Buckinghamshire was nicely mid-way.  But the choice of Wendover was truly felicitous; more than a charming market town it has a wonderful community providing a happy environment for bringing up a family, for making friends and also, of course, a richly fulfilling career of 37 years in general practice.

When number four was on the way a larger house was needed though some might think the enormous old rectory in Weston Turville a bit extreme, which is certainly the case nowadays with two OAP’S rattling around in it.  In fact it has been a perfect family house and is still at Christmas and Easter full to bursting now that three of the four children are married and responsible for six grand children.  There are plans to downsize back to Wendover but the timing remains very uncertain as Richard’s programme of decoration and gardening of the old place has fallen victim to the endless procrastination indicative of a happy and perpetually busy retirement.

Once the children were school aged Anne was able to develop her own interests, firstly, with the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts serving at a local (West Wycombe), regional and national level.  One notable challenge was organising the teams of volunteers to dust all the books in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle after the fire.

Later she took on the running of the Art Fund for Bucks, which involved raising funds to save works of art for the nation, with visits to places of interest such as private collections.  At the same time she became a guide and lecturer at Waddesdon Manor, which she still continues, though in fact most of her time during the past six years has been spent as chairman of the Friends and Patrons of the County Museum: a mammoth task but at last relinquished in order to share retirement activities with Richard.  Anne is still involved with the Oxford Ceramics Group which she helped to found seven years ago.

By the same token Richard has stepped down after twenty-five years from the board of trustees of St Scholastica’s almshouses in Princes Risborough but has managed so far to resist the siren call of golf and bridge, preferring tennis and walking plus cultural trips to Italy and frequent escapes to their bolt hole in Jersey.

Richard joined the partnership of Drs Riley, Garrod and Ballantine in 1973 when the practice moved from the Red House to the new purpose-built health centre.  What a change that made both to the patient’s experience and to the doctor’s job. 20 years later the building needed enlarging and updating so the redundant fire station next door was acquired and demolished and the Health Centre doubled in size to accommodate a primary health care team that has grown five-fold.

Richard is very proud to have been part of the Wendover Health Centre team. Partners come and go over the years but the ethos remains unchanged.  General practice has changed since 1973 but whatever the latest government initiative, and there have been a multitude, family medicine with a personal family doctor has always been at the heart of general practice.

 

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