Obituary John Philip Partridge, FRCS

A picture of the School in 1935 was donated to the Colin Beale Centre in memory of John Philip Partridge, F.R.C.S.

Milestones 1934-39

Born at Weymouth in 1921, John’s Family moved to Tiverton in 1928, mainly because of the friendship between his father George and Gerry Hopblack, Housemaster of Westlake at that time: The two men had fought together as officers in the Great War.

John’s mother was a founding member of the Tiverton Golf Club and imbued him with a life-ling love of the game.

John became one of the first pupils at the newly-formed St. Aubyn’s Prep School, before progressing to join his older brother David at Milestones (then known simply as The Day Boy House). Younger brother Michael followed him four years later. While at Blundell’s John acquired a love of Exmoor, especially Tarr Steps and on to Withypool. He also greatly enjoyed sport, representing the School at rugby and cricket amongst others. He gained a sport’s scholarship to St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1939 and qualified as a doctor in 1943 (the course was truncated due to the war). He then joined the Royal Navy Voluntary reserve in time for the D Day landings, in spite of suffering from severe sea sickness. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeon in 1951. In 1960 John was appointed as one of two consultant general surgeons at the north Devon infirmary in Barnstaple: the other was a fellow old Blundellian, David Stirk.

Apart from sixteen months at the Children’ hospital in Saigon in 1966-67, John worked in North Devon until his retirement in 1984.

John was an enthusiastic member of the Old Blundellian Golf Society, and was always delighted to receive from Nick Swarbrick a good friend, what he described as ‘A call to the colours’. He was a member of both Saunton and Royal North Devon Golf Clubs, and in 1983 was elected captain of the former. In July 2010 at the age of 89 he achieved his first and only hole-in-one on the pimply course at R.N.D Westward Ho.

John loved his garden, wildlife and the countryside, and was a life member of the R.S.P.B and the National Trust. However apart from his family John’s greatest love were his dogs, all yellow Labrador. Stretching from 1968 to 2006, Gussie the first, a birthday present to his wife Betty; Tigger her puppy kept from a litter of eight; because of deformed hips. Holly who accompanied him on his locums in Scotland in the late 1980’s after his retirement; Ena the guide dog puppy that helped to socialise during her first eighteen months prior to qualifying as a guide dog; and lastly Zinnia, the retired guide dog, who finished her days with him in comfort.

So to celebrate this love, and in Johns Memory, the family, wife Betty, sons Robert and Phillip, sister Gwenneth, and grandchildren Catherine and John Robert have set up a tribute fund to name a guide dog puppy ‘Jaypee,’ as John was always known to the family, friends and colleagues as ‘JP’.

Phillip Partridge
27th May 2013