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Dr Elizabeth Haggarty

Retired general practitioner;

Born: October 7, 1928; Died: October 3, 2012.

An appreciation

Dr Elizabeth Haggarty, who has died aged 83, was a respected GP and will always be associated with Maybole and the surrounding villages of South Ayrshire.

She was born in Springburn in Glasgow, the youngest daughter of Henry and Agnes Haggarty, and graduated in medicine from the University of Glasgow in 1951, going on to work at the cottage hospital in Galashields. In September 1953, she came to Maybole to join the singe-handed practice of the late Dr William B McLean, with whom she worked from 1953 until 1976.

She learned much from her mentor, particularly "how to enjoy the work and enjoy the patients". After 37 years, she retired on October 1, 1990, when her colleagues moved into Maybole Health Centre, though she continued to live in the town, until she became resident at Malin Court Care Home, near Turnberry, in May this year.

Dr Haggarty regarded her patients and their families as friends, and was ready to respond to any need during the day or night, even if it meant leaving a function early, or making late-night calls, or as on one occasion, walking through a mud-ridden field to the scene of a road accident.

Her surgeries were legendary for the length of time spent with each patient – something not always appreciated by those still to be seen. Nevertheless, she was firmly of the mind that her surgery should have more the atmosphere of "a club of friends", which she actively encouraged.

She loved classical music and was an active patron of the arts. For many years, she was a supportive community member of the Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, giving generously of her energy and enthusiasm. She was widely travelled, with a particular affection for Germany, her mother's home country.

She was also interested in family history and acquired a considerable knowledge of Ayrshire's titled and landed families, as well as the family history of her patients. Above all, she loved Maybole.

She was also a collector and filled her home with "all kinds of everything", giving much of it away to those she thought would benefit from it.

She worshipped at Kirkmichael Church for nearly 60 years and was consistent in the habit of arriving late, about which she repeatedly made humorous confession. In later years, she cared for her sisters with unceasing devotion, making Maybole a home for Nancy, Catherine (Kathleen), Henrietta (Etta) and Margaret, and sharing their last years with them.

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