'Unflappable' former Wolverhampton doctor dies aged 87

A former Wolverhampton doctor who later worked at companies including Goodyear and the Express & Star has died at the age of 87.

'Unflappable' former Wolverhampton doctor dies aged 87

Dr Peter Barnes was a founder of the first general practice in Wombourne in the 1960s and later also worked as a GP in Penn.

But, at 65, he quit the NHS, went back to university and re-qualified in occupational health medicine, working at several companies as well as Telford Occupational Health Service until finally retiring a decade later.

Remembered as a gentle, unflappable man, Mr Barnes was a child of Empire, the son of a vet turned rubber plantation manager in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

At the age of just three-and-a-half young Peter was packed off with his siblings on a boat back to England to attend school, where he went on to earn his degree at Cambridge University before post-graduate studies at Dublin's Rotunda maternity hospital.

In 1952 a desire to see the world saw Dr Barnes join the Merchant Navy as a medical officer, and he went on to travel twice around the globe, later regaling his daughters with stories of operations at sea and walking through the vast rib cages of whales caught by whaling ships in the South China Sea.

Returning to the UK, he went into general practice, first working around Much Wenlock and then, in the 1960s, he worked with Dr Fraser Dukes in establishing a surgery in Wombourne.

He had married his first wife, Rowena, and the couple had a daughter, Sally, but the couple later parted and he met and married Victoria Parker, from Bilbrook in 1975. Vicky, as she was known, was one of the four daughters of Tipton tube factory owner John Parker.

The couple went on to have two daughters, Camilla and Virginia. Camilla said: "I remember that my father used to be at breakfast in the morning often with his clothes over his PJs having been up all night on call."

Dr Barnes ran his practice in Penn until retiring from the NHS and going back to university, in Birmingham, to study occupational health medicine.

After finally retiring around 2003, he and his wife moved to Bridgnorth.

After his wife became ill in recent years the couple moved to Cheshire, to be nearer Camilla and her family. Mrs Barnes died in 2012.

Dr Barnes' funeral will be held on Thursday at St Mary and All Saints' church, Great Budworth, Cheshire, starting at 12.15. A celebration of his life will be held at the nearby Red Lion pub at Pickmere, from 1.15pm.

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