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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 September 8; 335(7618): 519.
PMCID: PMC1971202

Gerald Godfrey

Gerald Godfrey (“Gerry”) was a general practitioner in Meanwood and Alwoodley, Leeds, from 1945 to 1985, when he reluctantly retired aged 70, though he continued doing medical assessments for the Department of Works and Pensions for a further two years.

After qualifying, he worked in the Blood Transfusion Service for six months, being bombed in Hull and in Leeds while collecting donations, before completing his six month house job. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1942, serving mainly in Italy and North Africa with the artillery; he worked in a field ambulance station and was mentioned in dispatches. At demobilisation his rank was that of acting major.

After demobilisation, Gerry returned to Leeds. Declining the offer of an established practice, and despite his wife's advice, he simply hired two rooms next to the local undertaker, set up his plate, and waited for patients to join his list. By the time he retired the list had grown to over 5000 patients, with some families claiming that he had delivered two generations of their family. Patients moved from Meanwood to the new estates in Alwoodley so Gerry built a house in the area and opened a second surgery there. When he found himself doing four surgeries and 30 home visits each day, with the small waiting room filled to the doors and patients queuing in the rain he took on a partner. The practice subsequently grew again, and a third partner was appointed. He was a popular, trusted, old fashioned family doctor and patients were still asking after him right up to the time of his death at the age of 93.

He had a passion for gardening; in particular, he grew trees and unusual plants from seed.

He leaves a wife, Audrey, and two children, David and Gillian.


Former general practitioner Leeds (b 1914; q Leeds 1941), died from heart failure on 14 February 2007.

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