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Tributes to former GP after battle against motor neurone disease
A POPULAR former Kendal GP who believed in old fashioned care and met every day with a ‘wicked sense of humour’ has died at the age of 66.
Dr Paul Kerigan, who retired as senior partner from the Captain French Surgery 10 years ago, had bravely fought motor neurone disease for four years before he passed away at St John’s Hospice in Lancaster.
Born and brought up in the Manchester area, Dr Kerigan excelled at school where he skipped a year to take his O-levels early.
He considered careers as a nuclear physicist and dentist, but eventually settled on medicine.
He studied at Manchester Medical School and part way through his course joined the Army on a Short Service Commission of five years.
During training he met his future wife Cindy at a party, herself working as a nurse at North Manchester General Hospital.
They married 15 months later, when he was 22 and she 21.
He served in the Army in Germany for two years, including a six-month tour of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in the early 1970s.
The family then spent two years in Gibraltar where Dr Kerigan worked with naval consultants and was also appointed 'medical officer of the apes' - also tasked with caring for the monkeys.
When they returned to England, he worked in obstetrics for six months, based on Salisbury Plain.
With a young family, the couple decided to settle in one place and Dr Kerigan successfully applied for a job at the Captain French Surgery in Kendal.
He would spend the next 27 years as a GP there, as well as taking on extra work caring for the elderly as a clinical practitioner at Kendal Green Hospital, and transferring to Westmorland General when it closed.
He had to retire quite suddenly 10 years ago when he realised his failing hearing was preventing him from fully carrying out his duties.
Away from work, Dr Kerigan enjoyed a range of hobbies, from long distance running at a county level when he was younger to golf, snooker and bowls.
In retirement he became involved with the Rotary Club of Kendal, cherishing the friendships it brought but also a chance to fill the gap of helping in the community that work had previously afforded him.
Dr Kerigan was also a governor at Sandgate School in Kendal and supported the children’s hospice Derian House, and the charities Mind and Save the Children.
Four years ago he diagnosed himself with motor neurone disease, a disorder that would prove immensely frustrating for him, but through which he remained philisophical and kept his sense of humour.
Mrs Kerigan said she had been overwhelmed by the support of family and friends. “The messages from people have been absolutely amazing,” she said.
“He had a very easy way with people and his illness didn’t affect his personality in any way. Humour got us through the last few months.
“He was determined to see the birth of his fifth grandchild and it meant a lot to him to see James born in the summer. He was a very brave man.”
As well as Cindy, Dr Kerigan leaves children Nicky, Ian, David and John, their partners Jim, Alison, Vicky and Lisa, grandchildren Yasmin, Theo, Abi, Thomas and James, and sisters Mary and Ann.
The funeral is on Friday at Holy Trinity and St George Roman Catholic Church in Kendal from 12.15pm, followed by cremation at Lancaster.
The family has requested nobody wear black and donations can be made to the North Lancashire and South Cumbria branch of the MND Association, which provided help, advice and equipment to the family, or St. John's Hospice, c/o Hayes & Parkinson Ltd., Captain French Lane, Kendal.