Tributes paid to dedicated doctor Norman Faulkes
- Credit: Courtesy of David Faulkes
Tributes have been paid to former Letchworth GP Dr Norman Faulkes who lived and worked in the town for 40 years.
Dr Faulkes sadly died in January, aged 90, from lung cancer.
The dedicated, gentle and caring health practitioner moved to Letchworth with his wife, Sheila, who he met as a young trainee doctor in Reading.
The pair were attracted by a love of crosswords and dancing, and married on September 10, 1956, before moving to the garden city where Norman joined the practice of Dr Jaffey.
He spent most of his career as part of the Drs Faulkes, Adams and Wheatcroft practice in Nevells Road. He also worked at a surgery in the Jackman’s Estate and for a time was the regional police’s on-call doctor.
Norman was born on February 4, 1931, in Hinckley, to Alfred and Gladys Faulkes. His first name was Cyril but he went by his middle name - and he had an older sister, Margaret, a younger sister Veronica and brother Anthony.
He attended Dean Close Boarding School and later graduated from Birmingham Medical school, qualifying with his MB ChB in 1954.
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Dr Faulkes was dedicated to his profession, known for regularly checking in on his elderly patients, whether they were ill or not. He was also keen to support midwives in person at births of his patients whenever possible.
He and Sheila raised four sons in Letchworth - Richard, David, Alister and Nigel - who attended Highfield School.
The family lived in Howard Drive before moving to Pasture Road - to a home Norman and Sheila had a hand in designing.
The couple's eldest son Richard tragically passed away in 1989 after an accident while walking around Lake Annecy in France.
David told the Comet: "All four of us looked up to him. He worked very hard - we were at home with mum and used to look forward to him coming home and reading to us when we were younger.
"We all had our different pathways that we followed and have been successful in what we do. Our parents brought up four good boys and received had that love and support to get to where we wanted to be."
Outside of work, Norman had a passion for house renovation – in addition to the Pasture Road house, he redesigned houses in Baldock, Royston and Honiton - to where he made his final move in 2011.
He also enjoyed gardening, dog walking and making jams - especially orange marmalade.
During his last few years he started losing his memories of his time in North Herts.
David said: "In an attempt to jog his memory I travelled to Letchworth last summer and took some photos of the major landmarks.
"One image I wanted to capture was of the paddling pool in Howard Park. The view I wanted was coincidently being photographed by a woman set up with a tripod.
"I waited and when she was done. We chatted briefly and discovered we had both returned to Letchworth for the same purpose.
"I mentioned I was taking images for my dad who used to be a GP. 'What was his name?' she asked.
"When I told her it was Dr Faulkes, she was delighted and said 'he was my doctor! He helped deliver me. He was so nice'.
"This just shows how much of an impact a 40-year, one-town doctor will leave in a community. He was justifiably proud of his career."
Norman was cared for by David in his final days, and died at home with his son close to him.
In messages of support after his loss, colleagues have reached out to the family, recognising him as "an excellent practitioner and a superb diagnostician".
They have reflected on his dry sense of humour and sense of community.
David continued: "An example of the latter, was when a local man once got into the national papers under the title 'A Hooligan and Proud of it'.
"My dad wrote to him and told him he was a disgrace and needed to find another doctor. He often had frustrations with the local Health Authority bureaucrats and once wrote to them a letter that simply said “Is there anybody there?”
"He riled against the increasing bureaucracy as practices were made to compete against each other for limited funds and work to standardised systems.
"He was 90 years old last February, still able to be independent – cooking his own meals most of the time until his final weeks, although house-bound other than hospital visits for the last two years.
"His love of sitting in the sun, watching the birds and listening to Handel, even though his senses were diminished. A good, long, productive life, he had."