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Hullbridge Village History

Dr C A Donnelly

By Gary Congram and villagers of Hullbridge.

Dr Colm A. Donnelly was a young doctor when he came to the village and joined the Hullbridge Medical Centre with Dr Peter Corns. They along with Dr Sylvia Connors have managed and built the practice and centre to one of excellence that we have today. I would say one of the best in Essex !
My neighbour Doug Boreham has known Colm for more years than most of us as his mother used to babysit him so there has always been a little soft spot with Colm for Douggie!
I like many of the village have been with him since he started and are indebted to him for his support, guidance, care and being a friend.
He like me is a sportsman at heart and loved playing snooker over a pint, playing football (in his vet days for Zeus Vets) and riding his bike when not falling off ! When he did he knew he was ging to get some stick from Douggie who threatened to give him the stablizers from his sons bike.
Colm used to love his IRISH Whiskey and every year, come Christmas, he would become embarassed at the number of gifts he received as thanks from the villagers. He joked that he had enough bottles to open up the off-licence in the village again. Colm was always very active and especially in the recent years when he has admitted starting to feel the aches and pans of getting old, but he could still be seen riding his bike from home to work a journey well over 10 miles each way.
I was fortunate to have him perform some minor surgery on me about 2 months ago, when the centre was issuing the customer satisfaction survey. During the cutting and craving and burning of flesh we were talking about the survey and he was expressing his concern about what people would say about him and the practice. He knew he could come across as being abrupt,"on a good day !" and that he was not everyone's "cup of tea". The first time in over 40 years that I sensed a bit of vulnerability in him. Needless to say I told him for me and my wife Maggie he was the "simply the best" and that he was one of the main reasons we had decided not to leave the village when the house development was approved. The care he had given us over the many years had been fautless and that Maggie and I appreciated his straight talking and openess. I then asked him if he was considering retiring to which he said he was giving it some thought because he was past retirement age and wanted to be like me and start spending more time doing things he wanted to do. Hullbridge has some fine doctors but his absence will create a large vacume and I do not envy those left at the Riverside Medical Centre in trying to find someone to replace him.

On 19th March at 20:05 Julie Watson posted on the Hullbridge Facebook Forum news that was to reverberate around the village like a Mexican wave. "Shame !! Was told Doctor Donnelly retires tomorrow." I swear there was a short lack of air around the village as people took in a sharp breath of air in dis-belief and "No !" could be heard coming from most households. The Forum started to get inundated with comments of thanks and dis-belief.
Here are some of the posts made:-

Philip Benjafield I was fortunate to have an appointment this morning so once he had finished with me I shook his hand and wished him a wonderful retirement, he was a brilliant doctor and a lovely man.

Michelle Bosdet He went out of his way when my eldest daughter was about 5 and had pneumonia he called to my house after his shift to check on her every day because I never had a car, told me not to worry about making appointments, you wouldn't see that happening today. I hope he has a long and happy retirement x

Mick Burgess Looked after all our family for 30 years.We will miss him.Enjoy your retirement Doc and try not to fall off your bike !

Luke Burnett Wow he has been my doctor my whole life. I think the surgery and village will equally miss him. What a top doctor and top guy.

Leanne Carter Oh no! I see him today and saw him last week and he never said a thing even when he was telling me about coming back!!! He is the only one I trust! So sad

Donna Sweetpea Charman Great doctor, never forget the time he took out of his lunch hour ,when the surgery was closed many years back to check my daughter over as she was sent over lunch time from riverside.

Georgina Coe Only a few decent doctors lefts now, such a shame

Margaret Cole Thank you for the care you have given to my husband and I for over 25 years. Especially when my husband was very ill two years ago. We hope you enjoy your retirement. You will be missed in Hullbridge.

Pamela Cross He was a really good Doctor who always had time to listen, a sense of humour, and best of all was kind and caring. He will be greatly missed, and deserves a long and happy retirement.

Myk Debbage Very good doctor. Excellent with children and adults alike.

Hazel Denton I am devastated he was my doctor for over 30 years and has helped me so much over the past 6 months always being there to listen with so much patience and understanding i for one will truely miss him.

Linda Denton Thank you for all you have done over the past 24 years i have known you, greatly missed, wishing you all the very best.

David East A fine doctor, always ready to explain things clearly. He will be missed.

Patricia Edmead He was also our doctor for over 30 years and went over and above what most doctor's would do with his time and patience will be greatly missed.

Alan Edwards Dr Donnelly is/was a great doctor and person. He was our family Dr for more years than I can remember. He will be missed greatly by all that knew him.

Sue Forsyth He will be a sad loss, but having said that he probably deserves some 'me' time and a well earned rest. Would have been nice to have known so we could have organized a goodbye, in whichever way each of us wanted to show our appreciation of him over the years. Myself and my family wish him a lovely, tranquil retirement.

Danny Gatehouse Best wishes to an absolute gentleman.

Jenny Green Oh no ! that's such sad news such a lovely doctor, definitely one of the best.

Paula Harbrow I would like to say even when my boys had to have tests or were very poorly doctor Donnelly always had time to cheer them up with a bit of sparring, he never judged people and always when he was worried visited our house, especially when my youngest son Alex Harbrow had pneumonia at the age of 4, a very kind and caring doctor indeed

Trudi Holloway Colm. I wish you a long and happy retirement. Trust you to sneak off without letting us know! Sorry not to have had the opportunity to say goodbye and a hugeh THANK YOU! from the lads and me for your care over the years.

Christina Ingram Was Leonard Oh nooo ! finally get someone to listen to me and try and sort me out and they are retiring.

Marion Kerridge He was such a nice man and was always patient with me as I am in a wheelchair and he has to come here. I hope he has a good retirement.

Belle Lampard Just heard the news today, how sad, he was our family delegated doc for 30 yrs. Always had a twinkle in his eye - happy retirement Doc. xx xx

Alison Lee Dr donnelly.All the best on your retirement ! Was always kind and caring, a fab doctor Best wishes from Alison Lee and family.

Angelina Marriott I hope he has a very happy retirement.

Zoe Moore Dr Donnelly I have know for most of my life and his warm Irish accent has always been a comfort. XX

Vida Morgan Wish him all the best and a happy retirement, Thank you for all that you have done for the surgery and patients.

Lynn P Mullane I will always remember how excited he was with the new scanner...I was pregnant with twins...all I could see was a hand because the machine was so small but he thought it was fantastic at the time. Such a great doctor and sense of humour. Happy retirement.
Clair Payne He was so highly thought of!! Im certainty gonna miss him loads xx

John Pomfrett The very best Doctor! He has helped us and our family through some difficult times. We will miss him but wish him a well deserved happy retirement. Pat and John XX

Marie Sanders I think he was the doctor at most of the births for our generation too Natalie, definitely going to be missed, always ready to listen and not make you feel silly for having health worries whether actual ones or not.

Patricia Shar Want to thank Dr Donnelly so much for saving my husband's life.if he hadn't put him in hospital when he did who knows if he'd still be here.happy retirement Dr will be missed.

Pam Sturge Thankyou for the care you have given to myself and family ,we will miss you,.enjoy your retirement well deserved

Claire Sumner Dr Donnelly was a wonderful doctor and will be sadly missed. He was everything a good GP should be, kind, compassionate and very knowledgeable and thorough. I would like you to add my thanks to him for his service over the last 15 years he has been my doctor x

Leah Vevers Tidbury He has gone out of his way for my family and I over the years that I owe it him to let him know the impact he has had. I fully understand him not wanting a fuss made but he deserves a good bye off the village, it would have been fantastic to all stand and applaud him on his way out at the end of the day!

Colleen Turner Sad times... my favourite all time doctor . He has been so fantastic and if he hadnt been so quick to see my son (now 10) had major health problems 4 days after birth we certainly wouldnt have him today. I have a lot to thank him for. Also my midwife Heather x

Sandy Lou Walford Wishing you a long and happy retirement Dr. Donnelly...Thank you for all your dedication and caring over many years.. and for helping me at a time when I truly needed it...Much health and happiness to you.

Stephanie Warren He was the only doctor to listen to me when I said I was in alot of pain turned out I had a lump erupt on an ovary but never would have been found or treated if it werent for him ! ?, amazing doctor!

Julia Watson Its not public knowledge as he doesn't want a fuss. It was on the cards that he would be retiring soon,he has been my doctor for 34 years and will be missed.

Tracey Williams That's a shame, hope he enjoys his retirement x

Colin Wilson Thank you for your care, Best wishes on your Retirement,