Tribute: Tony Garrod

  |  Published: Sep 1st 2005

The youngest of four, Tony grew up in Harpenden, Hertfordshire with his father, Paul, a Professor of Bacteriology at Barts, his mother, a Psychiatrist, his sister and two brothers. His father taught him to play golf. As a youngster, he and the family spent most holidays in North Cornwall. His love for sea, cliffs and beaches never faded (continuing to take his family).

He went to the Quaker schools, Sidcot in Somerset and Bootham in York (6th form). His brother David and he followed in his father's footsteps and studied medicine at Barts in London. His interest in Cricket and Bridge flourished and although he never described himself as a committee man, he became Secretary of the Barts Cricket Club then later . . .

After qualifying, he went to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where he met a young nurse, Sally. They married in 1962 and moved to Gravesend in Kent where Tony was a GP Trainee Assistant. However, it was in Wendover that he, Sally, and their four children made their home. The children went to the local schools before the three eldest followed their cousins, father, uncles, aunt and grandparents to Sidcot.

Tony was a family doctor to Wendover for thirty two years. This included an amazing understanding of the genealogy of the old Wendover families and the complexities of their intermarriages. His style was of a quiet and undemonstrative caring.

Tony's career spanned a watershed in General Practice. When he started, he practiced from his home in Coldharbour with Sally as his receptionist-cum-telephonist. Most of the consultations from birth to death were at the patient's home. Tony regularly drove around the hills calling on his elderly housebound and infirm patients. By the 1980s everyone had become telephone and car owners and the GP's job became correspondingly office based. Tony did not resist change; on the contrary, he initiated it. It was Tony's entrepreneurial flare and business acumen that made such a success of Fundholding for Wendover Health Centre. By careful control of staff and prescribing costs additional services such as in-house physiotherapy and sessional work by a plastic surgeon were provided.

Tony was a proud and dedicated gardener, creating beautiful borders to set off his immaculate lawn as well as a productive orchard and vegetable garden. It made a perfect venue for the charity barbecues he and Sally hosted for the NSPCC and Abbeyfield. The Wendover pumpkin growing competition was taken extremely seriously. After years of diligently digging in loads of Tom Getley's best quality horse manure, Tony was rather miffed when an aerial photograph salesman offered him a picture of his garden and what stood out was the whiter than white beds - still 100% chalk from that perspective.

Tony was very active in the Abbeyfield movement in the region and chairman over the years of several homes. He was a foundation trustee of Wendover Community Trust bringing immense local knowledge and overseeing the Trust's Portfolio of stocks and shares in order to benefit the village for generations to come. It is fitting that the refurbished Wendover Memorial Hall will reopen for September activities. Tony and Sally supported the Wendover Society. He had very clear views on many things including "tugs" Similarly, he was a huge supporter of Wendover Music. His friendly face will be sorely missed.

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