DOCTOR Harold Wheldale Stanley died aged 92 on January 11, after many decades serving the Salcombe community.
He will be remembered by the people who knew him as a kind man who ‘overflowed with love, compassion and fun’.
Dr Stanley was born on October 30, 1924, in Egypt, while his father was a medical missionary. He was brought back to England while still a baby and grew up in Shropshire. The middle child of five, he grew up wth two older sisters Joyce and Kathleen, a younger sister Nancy and youngest Bryan.
Always knowing that he wanted to be a doctor, Dr Stanley attended Monkton Combe School, near Bath, where he took subjects that prepared him for attending St Bartholomew’s Medical School.
He came to Salcombe in 1958, slightly by accident. His wife, Eunice Stanley, said that he was the doctor on a cruise liner destined for New Zealand when he was called to a trawler. Two fishermen on board the trawler had got into a fight and one had stabbed the other.
‘He arrived too late to be able to do anything’, explained Eunice, ‘but he wasn’t allowed to sail on the cruise liner as he was a key prosecution witness. So he came to Salcombe as a locum and fell in love with the place.’
He became the family GP in Salcombe in 1958, and retired in 1975, although he continued to practise privately in his home, treating people with homeopathy, acupuncture and hypnosis.
He married his first wife Hanka in 1962 and she passed away in 2002. He later married Eunice.
‘I remember I had a trying time to get through’, said Eunice, ‘and Hanka suggested I go to see Harold for some hypnotherapy. He taught you how to use your inner strength and gave you something to hold on to.’
He was passionate about birds and the whole balcony with views over the Salcombe Estuary and over to Bolt Head is given over to birds, bird tables and feeding stations.
‘He was a devout Christian and I will always remember him for his kindness and understanding’, said Eunice. ‘There is no one like him.
‘He was so well known and loved in the community, I’ll always remember him driving around in his silver-blue VW Beetle, he had that for years, I’ll always remember the numberplate was UNK 400.’
Kindness and understanding seemed to be a theme from people who knew him, with sympathy cards mentioning what a ‘lovely man’ he was, how he was ‘a good friend and doctor for more than 50 years’ and he was a man ‘overflowing with love, compassion and fun.’
Dr Stanley’s funeral will take place on Thursday at Holy Trinity Church, Salcombe, at 2pm. He will be buried on Bonfire Hill with a reception in the church at 3.30pm.