Tributes paid to Norwich GP and volunteer after a 'life of great service'

Jane Beveridge, who has died aged 90.

Jane Beveridge, who has died aged 90. - Credit: Robert Beveridge

A beloved GP, Samaritans volunteer, flower arranger and grandmother has died aged 90.

Dr Jane Beveridge, who was born in Northumberland and grew up in Wylam, overlooking the River Tyne, qualified as a doctor at a time when female doctors were few and far between.

She met her husband Jim, a fellow doctor with whom she also shared a birthday, when they played in their college band, with him on the double bass and her on the cello.

While raising a family of four children, having moved to Fifers Lane in Old Catton in 1957, she worked as a doctor, first at Little Plumstead Hospital before St Andrew's Hospital in Thorpe St Andrew.

Her family said she was well-regarded there, looking after patients with mental health difficulties and bringing her children to the wards at Christmas.

Later, she worked as a GP in Thorpe and Earlham, where students and LGBT patients in particular sought her out for her empathy and open-mindedness. 

She would often cover certain shifts for her fellow GP husband, allowing him to attend rotary lunches and play golf.

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In 1975, her daughter Joanna was hit by a car and died aged 16. Dr Beveridge threw herself into support for other bereaved families.

The vicar of St Peter Mancroft, Rev Bill Westwood, recommended her as a magistrate and she joined the bench, where she served for 18 years from 1970 to 1988, including being chair of the juvenile bench.

In 1988, her son John died aged 24 and she once again channelled her energy into a new challenge, becoming a listening volunteer for the Samaritans, often giving up nights' sleep to listen to people's problems.

As a committed smoker her family said she could often be found outside social venues, chatting animatedly with “fellow sinners”.

As one of her bench colleagues said: “She was always genuinely pleased to see you and you always felt valued. She made everyone she came into contact with feel the same. A wonderful talent!”

Jane Beveridge and husband Jim.

Jane Beveridge and husband Jim. - Credit: Robert Beveridge

Dr Beveridge, who most recently lived at Coralie Court in Eaton, was a skillful and creative flower arranger at St Peter Mancroft and then St Margaret's in Old Catton, where she will be fondly remembered for the quality of her advice and arrangements.

In the 1980s she bought one of the first bridge computers and taught herself to play bridge, becoming a stalwart of the Cringleford Bridge Group.

As she became less mobile in recent years, she mastered new skills on her iPad, managing her affairs and holding video calls with her grandchildren.

She was a proud and loving granny to nine grandchildren and great-granny to two, and her family said she always remembered to send birthday cards to distant family members. She was mother to Margaret, 61, and Robert, 65.

They said: "It is often said that if you want something done ask a busy person! Jane’s energy, warmth, and genuine interest in the care of others helped a huge number of people and made a massive contribution to her adopted city of Norwich.

"Above all, her positive mental attitude has set a wonderful example to her family and friends: Overcome adversity, focus on the positives, make the most of what you have rather than linger on what you’ve lost. Hers was truly a life of great service, to her family, her patients, her city and to everyone she met."

A service of thanksgiving will be streamed live from St Margaret's Church on June 18 at 12.30pm.

For more information contact Allcock Funeral Services.

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