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===Why I Got This===
This book was bought as a Christmas present for me by my sister as she knows I like any sort of local history book. I had also bought Roger Penn's first book - Dolycwrt - about the hundred year history of the little doctor's surgery in Whitland, Carmarthenshire.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Gomer Press (15 Oct 2012)
Biography by his son - Roger Penn
Full price £12.99 but selling on Amazon for £9.73.
===The Book Itself===
This book is dedicated to Mrs Penn (Peggy) 'without her, Dr Penn would not have been the same person!'.
In the centre of the book are over fifty black and white images of George Penn through various stages in his life.
The book contains the following sections:
I - Early Life
II - Royal Masonic School for Boys
III - Cardiff Medical School
IV - Peggy
V - Royal Army Medical Corp
VI - General Practice in Whitland
VII - Senior Partner at Dolycwrt
VII - Community Work
IX - The Campaigning Years
X - Sole Practitioner at Dolycwrt
XI - Fighting to keep Dolycwrt Open
XII - The Choirboy Years.
Roger Penn had written a previous book called Dolycwrt which talked of the 100 year history of doctors in the little town of Whitland. Roger's fathers was one of those doctors and this biography focuses more on Dr Penn, although he is part of the Dolycwrt story as well.
Whitland is a small town on the western borders of Carmarthenshire, West Wales.
Doctor Penn was born in 1927 and lost his father at an early age. Being sent away to boarding school was also very formative.
Dr Penn's philosophy was 'he offered himself to patients as the medicine itself. He had taken heed of an unidentified newspaper article he once read, suggesting that 'doctors' were the 'best drug' available'.
How we all ought to have doctor's with the bedside manner and kindness of the late doctor Penn.
This book is a great tribute and memorial to a doctor who devoted himself to the people in and around the little town of Whitland in West Wales. Not only was he their doctor and friend, he also involved himself with Many groups and societies and also took up and campaigned for many worth.while causes.
'Dr Penn felt that a doctor should be at the heart of the community and he enjoyed living out his philosophy'.
Everyone knew Dr Penn and his well known A35 car was always to be seen. Dr Penn was the last in a line of old country doctors, who knew all their patients and who would visit them regularly. How many doctors today would give you a house call if they were passing and saw your light on late at night and were worried in case something was wrong and to see how you were? We hear that he would sometimes sit for half an hour in his car to prepare himself before visiting a patient with bad news, and he would stay with patients and often call back to see how they were progressing. Not only was he their doctor but a friend to everyone and if he said they would get better - then they believed him.
This book charts the life of George Penn from birth to death, and shows how he devoted himself to his little town of Whitland and the patients in the surrounding far-flung parishes. Dr Penn was evidently too busy even in retirement to write his autobiography, though he did leave some diaries and lots of paperwork. Luckily his son Roger had taken over the challenge and this book is a fitting memorial to the life of a remarkable man. Now his life and achievements have been recorded they will be a lasting testament to one man's devotion to duty. Though as Roger says, let it not be forgotten that his wife Peggy supported him throughout his career and therefore enabled hi to do the work he did.
I did know Dr Penn slightly but wish I had lived in Whitland to have benefited from his friendly manner. Dr George Penn's funeral was held at the church of St Mary, Whitland, next to the little bridge he had helped to save. It is recorded that it was a very large funeral and I venture to say probably one of the largest Whitland has even seen.
I was reading somewhere else the other day how having a sympathetic physician or doctor is more important than the drugs they prescribe you and in that Dr Penn obviously excelled.
This is not just about Dr George Penn the doctor but about him as a man and the part he played in his community.
I could write much more about this book but I do not want to spoil your enjoyment of reading it yourselves - as well as Roger's researches there are many snippets and amusing anecdotes from people that knew George Penn.
As stated at the end of the book:
'My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night;
But oh my foes, and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light!'
===Would I Recommend?===