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