GP honoured for community work

Valerie Gill, former GP in Morecambe, who has been awarded the British Empire medal for her services in Slyne and the community.
Valerie Gill, former GP in Morecambe, who has been awarded the British Empire medal for her services in Slyne and the community.

A former GP and long serving member of the communities of Hest Bank and Slyne-with-Hest has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Valerie Gill, 66, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her service to the community.

For 20 years, Valerie has been heavily involved with Slyne United Reformed Church, becoming secretary and organising social events.

She helped at Slyne-with-Hest Brownies until she retired.

At the church, she set up a toddler group and a food collection bank in conjunction with Balmoral Childrens Centre.

She also started a chair based exercise class called Body and Soul, designed for older people.

From the age of 15, she wanted to be a doctor and became an undergraduate at St Mary’s in Paddington, where she met her soon-to-be husband Robert over a corpse.

She said: “We both moved back up to Lancaster to work as we liked the area, and we’ve made our home here.”

Valerie worked as a police surgeon for Lancashire Constabulary, dealing with victims of sexual assaults and child abuse.

She was also on the Lancashire Area Child Protection Committee working to protect vulnerable children.

She worked part-time as a GP at Morecambe Health Centre before it became Coastal Medical Group, retiring in 2005.

She ran the baby clinic at the health centre for many years.

The couple have three daughters and have nine grandchildren.

She said about her honour: “I was totally surprised. However, everything I’ve done has been as part of a team, so I feel a bit embarrassed to be awarded. My husband Robert is quite delighted.”

Valerie will attend a local ceremony and has an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in the summer.