Former Dearne GP dies

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A former Mexborough area GP for more than 30 years has died in Dorset where he latterly made his home, at the age of 98.

John Powell worked in Mexborough from 1952 until the mid 1980s.

His son Alan said: “My father was an old style GP who would go out in the middle of the night to see patients in difficulty, and would then attend normal surgery during the daytime afterwards.”

Dr Powell was also responsible for the geriatric ward at the Montagu Hospital, and was the Naval Doctor for the area.

His medical career began as a medical missionary in Nigeria from 1942 to 1952. There he founded the 62-bed Ilesha Wesley Guild Hospital.

After contracting malaria, Dr Powell moved to Mexborough with wife Barbara and their three children. He remained as a local GP until his retirement, after which he moved to Portscatho in Cornwall.

He became a widower in 1994, and after a while remarried, to a Scottish lady, Florence. Together they moved to Highcliffe, near Christchurch, in 2002.

Alan Powell continued: “Dad spent the last few years writing his memoirs in a book he had published, called Scalpel and Spanner.

“I and my sisters thought people locally might like to know of his death. He saved a lot of people, including my best friend.”

Dr Powell was medical superintendent at Ilesha from 1942 to 1952 and was 82 when he wrote Scalpel and Spanner. It describes in great detail the day to day running of the mission hospital where the doctor had to be prepared to maintain machinery along with treating all kinds of medical and surgical cases

Dr Herbert (John) Powell leaves a son Alan, daughters Jill and Carol with respective wife and husbands, together with nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great grandchild, with another due.

His funeral service took place on April 24 at Highcliffe Methodist Church, Dorset, following a private family service at the crematorium.