Lochaber mourns the death of ‘much-loved’ Dr Su Sen

The Oban Times - - News - EMMA CRICH­TON ecrich­ton@oban­times.co.uk

TRIBUTES have been flood­ing in for a much-loved and re­spected Lochaber GP and com­mu­nity ac­tivist who died ear­lier this week.

Dr Suku­mar ‘Su’ Sen MBE passed away just months af­ter step­ping down from his many char­i­ta­ble roles, hav­ing de­voted his life to the health and well­be­ing of the peo­ple of Fort Wil­liam and be­yond.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing the death of the 80-year- old to share sto­ries of how their fam­i­lies had been helped by the kind-hearted pen­sioner, in his role as doc­tor as well as his in­volve­ment with count­less lo­cal causes.

Dr Sen leaves be­hind his wife, Shirley, a daugh­ter, Sheila, and twin sons, Robin and David.

Dr Sen, who ar­rived in Fort Wil­liam from Hart­ford­shire in the early 1960s, was awarded an MBE in 1997 for his work in the com­mu­nity, and in July this year the long-serv­ing ro­tar­ian was awarded a Paul Har­ris Fel­low­ship by the Ro­tary Club of Lochaber – one of less than a dozen to re­ceive the ac­co­lade in the club’s 65 years of ex­is­tence.

Terry Lee, pres­i­dent of Lochaber Ro­tary, said: ‘Al­though I only knew Su to­wards the end of his ac­tive years, I was proud to have known him and proud that for 45 years he was a mem­ber of our lo­cal Ro­tary club.

‘He was a strong sup­porter of Ro­tary and up un­til last year he was still in­volved in a huge range of com­mu­nity projects. He did so much for so many peo­ple and I was de­lighted that his com­mu­nity work was recog­nised by Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional in the award of the Paul Har­ris Fel­low­ship – the high­est award that Ro­tary can be­stow.

‘The Lochaber com­mu­nity has lost a great cham­pion – peo­ple and the com­mu­nity were al­ways cen­tral fea­tures in Su’s very ac­tive life. My thoughts are with Shirley and the fam­ily.’

Former Ro­tary pres­i­dent Ken John­ston also paid trib­ute to Dr Sen as the pair worked to­gether on the Lochaber Dis­abil­ity Ac­cess Panel: ‘I’ve known Su for al­most 40 years. He was a founder mem­ber of the [ac­cess] panel and a tire­less cam­paigner on dis­abil­ity ac­cess is­sues. The bar­rier-free Caol shop­ping cen­tre is en­tirely due to Su’s hard work.

‘He over­saw the orig­i­nal Ac­ces­si­ble Lochaber guide and he was cen­tral to the cre­ation of the ‘ Al­liance of High­land and Is­land Ac­cess Pan­els’. His phi­los­o­phy was that no one knew more about dis­abled ac­cess than dis­abled peo­ple them­selves, and he ne­go­ti­ated strong con­sul­ta­tion links with the coun­cil plan­ners on all new de­vel­op­ments. He was a ter­rific com­mu­ni­ca­tor, a self­less and ex­tremely clever man, and with­out him the panel would not have the sta­tus and in­flu­ence that it has to­day.’

Lochaber med­i­cal and nurses’ so­ci­eties, Lochaber Coun­cil on Al­co­hol, Cit­i­zens’ Ad­vice, Caol Re­gen­er­a­tion Group, Cor­pach Ma­rina, Red Cross, St John’s Am­bu­lance Ser­vice, Lochaber Marathon and many gar­den­ing projects were just some of the causes Dr Sen de­voted his time to.

But as well as his com­mu­nity pres­ence, Dr Sen was well known and loved through­out his 40 years as a sur­geon, GP and Belford Hospi­tal reg­is­trar.

He be­came a part­ner in the then High Street Med­i­cal Prac­tice, now Glenmore, in 1969 and worked with doc­tors in­clud­ing Cameron Roy Innes, Pe­ter Pow­ell and Chris Robin­son.

More than 200 former pa­tients took to Face­book to ex­press their sad­ness at his pass­ing and told tales of their ex­pe­ri­ences at the surgery.

Linda Dig­nan re­counted that Dr Sen had de­liv­ered her when she was born and said she was ‘ very sad’.

Mar­garet O’Rourke com­mented: ‘ Dr Sen was an amaz­ing doc­tor. He had time for ev­ery­one. He loved chil­dren and spent time ex­plain­ing their ail­ment to them.

When I missed an ante-natal ap­point­ment at the surgery he ap­peared at my door that evening to make sure I was okay.’

Freda Brooks said Dr Sen is the doc­tor to whom she com­pares all oth­ers and Dun­can MacPher­son called him ‘a true High­land gen­tle­man and a much-loved and re­spected adopted son of Lochaber’.

RE­SPECTED: tributes have been paid to former GP

Dr Suku­mar Sen.

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