Dr Richard Hardwick, who died on February 26 aged 93, was a much-loved and respected GP in Liphook for 33 years.
He was also a Bramshott and Liphook parish councillor during the Millennium Centre years in 2000 and was a founder trustee.
Richard was born in Kent, one of five children whose father and grandfather were also GPs. He trained at St Thomas’ in London, where he took his Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians diploma and did senior jobs in cardiology and neurology, dealt with packed clinics of TB patients, played rugby for the hospital, captained the water polo team, and enjoyed sailing trips in a consultant’s borrowed yacht.
In 1959, he decided he had always wanted to do general practice and was guided to the Liphook and Liss area by the need for more doctors there. He set up his practice in Danetree (now the Newtown Road car park) with the surgery and waiting room in his two front rooms. On busy days patients queued all the way up the stairs. With a rapidly expanding list, he planned and built the now Liphook and Liss Surgery, which opened in 1967, on its present site on part of his garden.
Richard has been described as an archetypal family doctor. He was passionate about general practice as a calling, not a job, was on call almost 24 hours a day, spent many hours on home visits, looked after an 80-bed geriatric hospital on the site of Bramshott village, ran St John Ambulance courses on his only evening off and was very much part of the village. He was patient, calm, knew his patients extremely well and was a skilled diagnostician, using the expertise he had acquired in hospital, especially in cardiology and neurology.
He retired in 1992 but carried on as a locum doctor until 1997.
In 1966, he married Valerie. The couple first lived at Orange Lodge, on Midhurst Road, and later moved to Passfield. They had four children, three sons and a daughter, of whom he was immensely proud, as well as two trademark yellow labradors.
All four children studied at Cambridge and, thanks to his long life, Richard was able to see James installed as a professor of gastroenterology in Leiden, Netherlands; Matthew as a QC in Grays Inn; Rachel as a GP in Oxford; and Jonathan as an IT systems architect in the City. He was also devoted to his 13 grandchildren.
Richard was an outdoor man and an excellent sportsman. He was kicker for the St Thomas’ rugby, captain of the water polo team, a keen sailor, walked in the Lakes until over the age of 80, played tennis until 84, and took up mountain biking in his late 70s. He was also a passionate gardener and bee keeper.