Manea bid a fond farewell to village doctor Richard Hirson

Dr Richard Hirson with his wife Mandy at his retirement party

Dr Richard Hirson with his wife Mandy at his retirement party - Credit: Archant

People turned out in their hundreds to bid a fond farewell to Manea doctor Richard Hirson who is retiring after caring for the villagers’ health for over 25 years.

Dr Richard, as he is affectionately known, was given a true Manea send-off with residents contributing to a buffet as part of last Wednesday night’s celebrations at the Royal British Legion Club.He was presented with an inscribed bench and also a gift voucher, which he has promised to use to buy a bee hive for his Italian holiday home.

In an emotional tribute Belinda Carson, former practice nurse and long-time friend, gave an outline of Dr Richard’s time as the Manea physician; from his early days in a mobile set up in a corner of the Royal British Legion Club’s car park to the opening of a purpose-built surgery.

She spoke of his generosity from laying on fireworks displays in his early days, to providing sun hats and even funding the parish magazine Manea Matters for many years. He also helped fund and organise the first parish plan, which resulted in the setting up of Manea Connect.

He also introduced innovations like flu jab afternoons, which included tea and cakes and tea dances.


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The surgery has always achieved maximum points, with local surveys showing Manea patients rank it highly even by national standards.

As well as serving as the village doctor Dr Richard has also worked as a police surgeon, the Whitemoor Prison doctor and took part in the out of hours service.

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Outside of medicine he is married to Mandy and they have three grown-up sons: Leo, Archie and Richard.

He is a keen smallholder with hobbies that also include bee-keeping and growing orchids.

In his thank-you speech Dr Richard paid tribute to his dedicated practice team and the hard work and support they have provided over the years.

He spoke of the ‘wonderful community spirit’ that is central to Manea and told how a good friend of his from medical school had gone on to have a glistening career and has become one of the top professionals in the country.

He said: “But I am not jealous, I have had a glistening career here in Manea, truthfully I reached the highest point of the pyramid some years ago. It’s been a great privilege, it has been wonderful.

“As I stand here and look out at you all what’s interesting is seeing the generations we have shared. I have been privileged to know you and to share your lives. How lucky I have been to be here and to have had the privilege of sharing your journeys.”

* Dr Richard is now officially on leave and Doddington Medical Centre are looking after the practice before officially taking it over.

Dr Simon Hambling, from the Doddington practice, said: “We are looking are after Manea for the moment but we hope to merge the two, we are currently waiting for the legalities to be formally completed.”

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