A HARDWORKING GP who served his community with pride and devotion for 40 years has died aged 96.

Nicknamed the ‘Flying Doctor’ owing to his speedy response to house calls, Dr George Pearson cared for generations of Crook residents as a partner at North House Surgery in the town.

He was born near Stirling in Scotland in 1921 and was the youngest of three brothers. He was also, at 21, the youngest medical student to graduate from his course at Edinburgh University and often recalled his initial astonishment at being a doctor at such a young age.

Dr Pearson met his late wife, Jane, a nurse, when the pair were working at a hospital in Romford in London. It was a whirlwind romance and they were married six months later in 1944.

With the Second World War rumbling on, the newlyweds headed to Paris where medics were desperately needed. Dr Pearson had previously worked as a doctor at a Belgian prisoner of war camp.

In 1947, he secured a post in Sunderland. However, less than a year later the couple moved to Crook, where Dr Pearson was made a partner at North House Surgery, then located in North Terrace. However, Dr Pearson also held surgeries in the family’s home, with the couple’s three daughters, Jill, Rosemary and Meryll, recalling people showing up at the front door with all sorts of ailments.

“You got used to it,” said Meryll. “It wasn’t just a job to my father, it was a vocation. He cared very much about his patients.”

Jill said: “It was a lovely house to grow up in. We have so many nice memories.”

Barbara Gill worked alongside Dr Pearson as a nurse for many years, and described him as a “true gentleman” and a wonderful friend.

“He was fabulous,” she said. “He never got cross and if extra patients turned up he would never grumble, he just saw them. He was always immaculately dressed too, with his bow tie.”

In the late 1970s, Dr Pearson helped establish the new North House Surgery in Hope Street where he worked until he retired in 1987.

Outside of work, Dr and Mrs Pearson enjoyed caravan holidays in Scotland. Later, they travelled to Italy, Egypt and South America.

Dr Pearson loved to read and walk his pet dog Missy. He was also a member of Crook Rotary Club and raised funds for many causes.

To his wife of more than 50 years, daughters, grand-children and great-grandchildren he was someone they could always rely on.

Meryll said: “My father would never let anything hurt us. He was incredibly protective and if anything went wrong you could always go to him for help and he would never judge you.”

Dr Pearson died on April 21. His funeral is at St Catherine’s Church in Crook on Monday, May 14, at 11.30am.