Bourne Corn Exchange was packed on Sunday, March 29, with many friends, patients and colleagues of the late Dr Raj Patel to attend a reception in celebration of his life.
Dr Patel, who died in December on holiday in his home village in India, will be remembered as a well-known and greatly respected general practitioner who served the local community with great humility and unfailing kindness for many years.
His widow Mrs Ranna Patel said: “Raj passed away in India and his funeral took place there. Our son Miraj and I have been totally overwhelmed by the many kind comments and outpourings of support that we have received since we returned that we wanted to arrange this celebration to offer just a small thank you to everybody.
“I am sure that Raj would be totally embarrassed by the affection that has been shown today for his memory but it has been a great comfort to all his family.”
Raj’s journey to his life as a General Practitioner was quite remarkable. He was born in Gujarat, India. At the age of seven, he and his mother joined his father in Leicester in 1961 and after two years he was sent back to India to live with an aunt as he “had no future in this country” according to his then headmaster!
After four years Raj returned to Leicester with only a little knowledge of the English language and was placed in the immigrant class.
Just two years later he had achieved seven GCE/CSE passes and transferred to Gateway Grammar School for Boys where two years later he achieved a place to study medicine at The Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff. In 1977 despite the odds and with much hard work Raj qualified as a doctor.
Dr Patel was highly valued as a true family doctor who had time for his patients and practiced in Bourne for almost 25 years with the Galletly Practice, before joining the Glenside Country Practice at Castle Bytham for the last seven years of his career.
He was also a familiar figure at Stamford Hospital where he was often to be seen on duty with the out of hours service.
His contribution to local life also included service as a Governor of Bourne Abbey Primary School and the Robert Manning College and involvement with St John Ambulance Brigade.
Donations in aid of Cancer Research received during the afternoon amounted to £550.