Dr John Poppleton, Scarborough GP who devoted his life to helping others, dies aged 90

A much-respected family doctor who devoted his life to helping others has died at the age of 90.

Monday, 2nd November 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd November 2020, 1:04 pm

Dr John Frank Poppleton was a GP in Scarborough for many years and was actively involved in a number of charities, good causes and local societies. He was warmly remembered as an “ideal citizen” and a man who did “a lot of quiet good.”

Dr Poppleton was born in London to Harry and Sally Ann Poppleton. Harry worked for Unilever and pre-war moved to Selby where Dr Poppleton attended Drax Grammar School, later earning a scholarship to go to medical school.

Dr Poppleton studied medicine at Leeds University and completed National Service in the Royal Navy.

Dr John Poppleton

He enjoyed his time in the Navy and was ship’s doctor on HMS Owen. He travelled the world and spoke fondly of his visit to Africa, which he described as most beautiful.

When he left the Navy Dr Poppleton initially worked in York but set up his own practice in Scarborough in response to a letter, sent to the local MP, highlighting the need for more doctors in the town. He started to work in Dr Walker’s practice and took over when he retired at the Claremont surgery.

That was the start of a long career in medicine where Dr Poppleton became highly-respected in general practice and in industrial medicine with McCain and the Gas Board.

Dr Poppleton married Margaret in May 1959 at St Wilford’s Church, Brayton, and the couple had five children, Timothy, Frances, Robert, Susan and Paul.

In a tribute, his children told how proud they were of their father: “Dad followed the Biblical principle ‘To him to whom much is given, much is required’ because that is how he saw his life – that he was to serve others and to put the good skills he had acquired to work.

“He was grateful for all that he had. He would always do what he said he would do. His word could be trusted and he worked hard. Dad instilled these virtues into us.”

On moving to Scarborough Dr and Mrs Poppleton initially lived in a flat overlooking Peasholm Park and then moved to Castle Road, above the Claremont surgery.

The couple were committed members of the local Round Table with Dr Poppleton often playing Father Christmas. They served as trustees for Wheelhouse Square, collecting funds for a dialysis centre, and Dulverton Hall, a supported housing scheme in Scarborough.

Dr Poppleton was also instrumental in helping to raise money to buy a CT scanner for Scarborough Hospital and also an organ at St Martin’s Church.

He was a Friend of Scarborough Art Society, a history society and also of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Mrs Poppleton died in 2012 and their daughter Frances shortly afterwards. Dr Poppleton felt their loss deeply.

Tom Pindar, a friend of 60 years, said: “The world is divided into givers and takers and John and Margaret were givers and contributors.

“They were ideal citizens and John did a lot of quiet good.”

Dr Poppleton, who had dementia in his later years, was cared for at Combe Hay residential home in Scarborough. He died on October 14 and a funeral service took place at St Martin’s Church.