Congratulations to local resident and highly respected doctor Robert Barnard, who celebrated his 100th birthday on 20th November 2023. Dr Barnard arrived in Emsworth, aged 24, to work as a GP in partnership with his mentor Dr Jimmy Rickett. Just after he moved to Emsworth the National Health Service was created and he worked tirelessly within its structure for the community until his retirement in 1989, save for a period of two years’ National Service spent in the Navy. For many years thereafter he was a Royal Navy reservist.
Dr Barnard loves sport, especially cricket and follows the game closely. He was still bowling to his grandson at the age of 90. He also loved dancing and singing with the Renaissance choir. Dr Barnard met his wife Jean through a mutual friend. They were married for 61 years until her death in 2020. She too was a doctor. The couple had two sons and several grandchildren many of whom have inherited his love of cricket.
Dr Barnard is himself a beneficiary of pioneering medical treatment. He had his first heart attack in his 40s. Then at the age of 55 he was admitted to St George’s Hospital for a quadruple heart bypass, being the first patient from this area to have this pioneering procedure.
Forty-five years after this heart surgery Dr Barnard is still going strong. He has a remarkable memory and enjoys talking to people, reminiscing, and recalling the times and people with whom he has come into contact over his long life.
[Robert Barnard has written about the Cottage Hospital and his friend Jimmy Rickett in the Emsworth Echo, Issue No. 33, November 2002 and made a couple of oral history tapes. In one of these he reminisces about his life and work in the Emsworth practice. The other is a series of anecdotes, broadcast originally by the Chichester Talking Newspaper for the visually impaired.]