Doctor who delivered many of Downend’s babies dies at 93

A DOCTOR who delivered generations of babies in Downend and Yate – including Harry Potter author JK Rowling – has died, aged 93.

Dr Malcolm White set up a practice at Four Acre Road in Bromley Heath in the early 1960s, with partners Dr Hill and Dr Kitchen.

The practice later became Leap Valley surgery, in Beaufort Road.

Dr White also ran a surgery in Station Road, Yate, where he lived with his family before the building was demolished to make way for the town’s shopping centre. He then opened a surgery in Abbotswood, which is associated with Leap Valley to this day, and lived in Church Road.

Dr White’s daughter Rebecca said: “He was responsible for the delivery of Downend’s babies at both Wendover Cottage Hospital and Southmead Hospital from the early 60s to the early 90s, as well as maintaining two daily surgeries and two lists of house visits a day.

“He was particularly renowned for his regular visits to new mums for up to three weeks after delivery, going back day after day to check on how they were doing, which they don’t do today.

“He would even knit booties for all of the babies he delivered, and would dress up as Father Christmas and go round the children’s ward.

“He was never, never off work – it was 24/7.”

Rebecca said her father also delivered most babies born in Yate from the 60s until he retired in around 1993, including JK Rowling, who was born in the town in 1965.

Rebecca said: “The practice in Yate served many estates that were just being built and it was all babies at the time.

“One day while he was asleep in his chair I put about 50 bands in his hair and he went and delivered a baby with them on, because he hadn’t noticed they were there!”

Dr White was also well known for his bow ties and loud waistcoats, and Rebecca joked: “He had no dress sense!”

A father of six, grandfather of eleven and great-grandfather to eight children, he spent his early life in Southampton, one of ten children whose father worked in the docks.

After being evacuated aged eight to Corfe Castle in Dorset, during the Second World War, he was sent to a grammar school and then studied at Bristol University, settling in the area afterwards.

After retiring he remained in Yate with his wife Molly, who died in 2006.

Dr White moved to a care home in Wiltshire a year ago. He died after a short illness, on March 7.

His funeral service is due to take place on March 28 at 10.15am, at Westerleigh Crematorium.