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Obituary: Long-serving South Street Surgery partner, music lover and dramatist Dr Richard Lewin 'was a devoted husband, a wonderful father and a doting grandfather'



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The funeral will take place on Monday (April 11) of a man who was known to many in the Bishop's Stortford area as a former long-serving GP at South Street Surgery.

Dr Richard Lewin, who lived with his wife Elspeth in the same street where he worked for almost 30 years at the doctors' practice, died peacefully at home on Wednesday March 16. He was 86.

He also leaves sons Jonathan and Jeremy, daughter Fiona and grandchildren Martha, 21, Clara, 19, and Oscar, 16.

The late Richard Lewin (55875551)
The late Richard Lewin (55875551)

Born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, in May 1935, Richard was educated at Harrow, the public school in London, and later Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and Guy's Hospital in central London.

After qualifying as a doctor, he worked as assistant surgeon on a P&O cruise ship travelling to Japan and the Far East.

He then worked for a year in a children’s hospital in Kentucky, where, in recognition of his charity work, he was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel (like Colonel Sanders of KFC fame), after which he toured the United States, doing over 12,000 miles in an old Cadillac.

Graduating from Gonville & Caius College (55875559)
Graduating from Gonville & Caius College (55875559)

Dr Lewin settled down in 1966 and became a partner in South Street Surgery, where he stayed until his retirement in 1995. He also worked for around 34 years in a part-time role as assistant paediatrician at Herts and Essex Hospital.

During the earlier part of his career at South Street, he took time away from the practice to work as a surgeon on educational cruises. This enabled him and Elspeth to travel and see many parts of the world. But he also found great pleasure spending many summers at the family cottage in the Highlands of Scotland.

His other passions were music and drama. In his time in the town he was involved in the former Bishop's Stortford Amateur Operatic Society and Tavern Players, as well as the current Water Lane Theatre Company and Bishop's Stortford Choral Society. In 1973 he became chairman of the Bishop's Stortford Arts Federation.

Dr Lewin was part of a discussion group formed in the 1930s called XII Club, which met monthly for one of its members to prepare and present a paper for discussion. One example remembered by the club was titled “To sleep, perchance to dream” when he discussed the medical aspects of sleeping and dreaming.

With his second family, the partners and staff of South Street Surgery (55875565)
With his second family, the partners and staff of South Street Surgery (55875565)

He volunteered as a steward at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and appeared several times on stage with the Old Harrovian Players, once treading the boards with Dame Joanna Lumley.

He also formed a words and music group called Five’s Company, which put on performances in and around Stortford over a period of 15 years, raising more than £30,000 for charity.

Son Jeremy said: "In later life he enjoyed a round of golf with his friends, although some think he was mostly interested in the sticky toffee pudding served in the pub afterwards!

Treading the boards with Water Lane Theatre Company (55875563)
Treading the boards with Water Lane Theatre Company (55875563)

"He was a lovely, kind, warm man who had a great way with his patients and a great sense of humour that came across in everything he did.

"He was a devoted husband for over 50 years, a wonderful father and a doting grandfather."

Dr Lewin's funeral will take place at St Michael's Church, Windhill, on Monday (April 11) at 12.30pm. Family flowers only. Donations can be made to the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and Gonville & Caius College.

In the garden with his parents (55875561)
In the garden with his parents (55875561)
Richard Lewin as a young doctor (55875557)
Richard Lewin as a young doctor (55875557)
Words and music group Five’s Company (55875567)
Words and music group Five’s Company (55875567)


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