Obituary: Dr Bill Fiddes, GP who gave unstinting service in Selkirk for 27 years

Dr Bill Fiddes
Dr Bill Fiddes
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Dr Bill Fiddes, GP in Selkirk for 27 years. Born 12 March, 1947, in Edinburgh. Died 28 October, 2016, in Selkirk, aged 69

THE community of Selkirk is very much the poorer following the death of retired GP Dr Bill Fiddes, who passed away on October 28 at the age of 69.

Dr Fiddes joined the town’s medical practice in 1976, and for the next 27 years gave unstinting and loyal service to the citizens of the Royal & Ancient Burgh, making light of the spinal condition – sustained during rugby-playing days – that was to affect his later years.

William FG Fiddes was born in Edinburgh where his father, Fred, served as the city’s forensic pathologist, and his mother, Grace, was a primary school teacher.

He and his two brothers, James and John, attended George Heriot’s School, where Bill excelled both academically and on the sports field. He played hooker for the school’s 1st XV, after which he became a key member of the Heriot’s FP senior side.

Bill studied medicine at Edinburgh University and after graduating spent a year working in Aberdeen. He then returned to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary to continue training in anaesthetics, obstetrics and gynaecology.

It was here he met his future wife Anne, who at that time was Sister in the hospital’s labour ward. In 1974 Bill took up the post of trainee GP in Hawick, and two years later moved to Selkirk to join the local medical practice in the town’s health centre.

The couple’s two children, Patricia and James, were born during this time. Patricia is now a fund manager for BP in London, while James works for the Foreign Office.

Bill was an avid follower of rugby, cricket and golf, being renowned amongst friends and colleagues for his incredible power of recall concerning statistics and match facts. He was a member of Selkirk Merchant Company, Selkirk Curling Club and the Borders Heriot Club.

He served as Selkirk Rugby Club’s doctor between 1976 and 1997, and was a popular figure at Philiphaugh. “Bill was a tremendous guy,” said club chairman John Rutherford, “and being an ex-rugby player himself had great empathy with the players.”

A minute’s silence was held in his memory prior to Selkirk’s match against Howe of Fife on October 29.

In 1984 Bill underwent a laminectomy to remove the back of four of his vertebrae, giving access to the spinal cord in order to relieve pressure on the nerves. This surgery could not ultimately prevent his spinal condition worsening, to the point where he was unable to walk and reluctantly had to cease practising as a GP.

Confined to a wheelchair for the past five years, he was at all times lovingly cared for by his wife Anne, and took great delight in the visits of the couple’s children and two young grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at the Borders Crematorium, Melrose, tomorrow, at 2pm.

JOHN SMAIL