20 June 2024

Much-loved family GP marks centenary

Renowned Withernsea doctor Tony Fouracre was the guest of honour at the Albemarle Probus Club after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Dr Fouracre, whose family have continuously served the people of South East Holderness for 90 years, reached his milestone birthday on March 18, and the following Tuesday attended the club’s latest meeting at the Camerton pub in Thorngumbald.

When Tony was born in 1923, his father, Dr Sidney Fouracre, was practising medicine in Withernsea and the surrounding villages. In 1980, Tony’s son Robert joined the practice.

Locals still speak with great affection of Dr Fouracre. Albemarle Probus Club secretary John Ledger said: “Many were very grateful for his attendance at their homes at all hours of the day and night to attend emergencies and illnesses. Not only was he their doctor, but he was also a good friend to many.”

Also part of Dr Fouracre’s responsibility was Withernsea Hospital, with its many needs throughout the 24-hour day, and Spurn RNLI station also came under his remit. It was not unknown for him to go out to sea to attend casualties, using the helicopter from Paull and the lifeboat. He had been introduced to sailing as a young boy, and this was a hobby that grew over the years.

As his experience grew in seamanship and navigation, he crossed the North Sea 14 times to see friends in the Netherlands, and was also a coastguard for many years. He later bought a Hardy motor cruiser and moored it near Hempholme, and he visited it regularly until he 88.

Throughout his time in Holderness, Dr Fouracre immersed himself into many local social societies. Withernsea lighthouse was something he had known all his life and, to celebrate his 75th birthday in 1998, he abseiled 127ft down it with his granddaughter Ruth. He was even persuaded to give a repeat performance because the TV crew were late – but he was not so happy about climbing all the way back up to the top again.

Gazette reporter Terry Bearpark put out an appeal on Facebook for residents to help Dr Fouracre mark
his birthday, saying: “Tony is still going strong, writing books and raising money for a church project in Malawi. Wouldn’t it be great if he received 100 birthday cards from his friends and former patients in the area?”

Numerous people responded with stories of how he’d helped them and their families down the years, and John said that Dr Fouracre had told him he received many birthday cards from friends in the area, for which he was extremely grateful.

John added: “Tony told us that he had enjoyed joining his Probus colleagues again, but had to get back to a further party in Driffield at 3pm, celebrating his 100th birthday. We all wished Tony well and hope to see him again soon.

“At Albemarle Probus Club we are always looking for new retired men who can join us – we cannot guarantee longevity to the age of 100 but we can certainly make friends. We meet at the Camerton on the first Tuesday in every month at 11.30am, for tea/ coffee and talk. You will be made very welcome.”