Obituary

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THE funeral has taken place of a well-respected doctor who had a practice in Heckmondwike for almost 24 years.

Dr Peter Vallow was with the Brookroyd House practice from 1967 until he retired in 1991. He died on April 24 at the age of 86.

He was born in Bingley, the son of Percy Vallow, a dentist, and attended Bingley Grammar School where he was a gifted student and was ready to sit his school certificate earlier than he was allowed to.

He took part in a school exchange to Auxerre, Burgundy, for three months and became fluent in French. He became pen friends with the son of the family he was staying with and the two remained in touch until his friend’s death.

After leaving school he studied medicine at Leeds University where he met fellow medical student Rachel Taylor and the two were married in 1952.

After university he completed his National Service with the RAF and then went into a practice in the Hull area. From there, he and his wife set up a joint practice in Todmorden, and in 1967 they moved to the Spen Valley where Dr Vallow joined Drs Pollock and Milne at Brookroyd House, as the only English doctor in the practice. His two colleagues were both Scottish.

Dr Vallow retired in 1991, never having allowed a computer into his surgery. He was a good ‘old-fashioned’ family doctor who preferred to speak directly to patients during consultations, rather than ‘look at a TV screen’ — as one patient later delighted him by describing the “new” technology.

During his time in Todmorden, he was a member of Round Table and attended an International Conference in West Berlin in 1964. This was about three years after the construction of the Berlin Wall and involved travelling through a corridor of the former East Germany. He probably did not enjoy this aspect of the trip at the time, unlike the conference itself, but he certainly enjoyed regaling an audience with a description of the experience afterwards!

He had a keen interest in local history and was a member of the Spen Valley Historical Society. In his retirement he was a member of Cleckheaton Probus, a Batley writing group and the Dewsbury French Circle. He enjoyed travelling to France and Italy, and had studied Italian at night school. Sometimes he used the language in an Italian restaurant more locally too — occasionally to bemused staff who didn’t speak it!

His funeral took place at St Luke’s Church, Cleckheaton. He is survived by his wife, children Isabel, Stephen and Michael and daughter-in-law, Kath.