I WILL be formally retired from general practice and the Blackwater Medical Centre from March 5.

Over the last six months I have been unwell and have made considerable progress but sadly not enough to enable me to return to work.

My plan to work until my mid sixties has had to change unfortunately. Leaving the practice is a huge wrench for me after 29 years; I have been so lucky with all the people I have worked with (the practice support staff, manager, nurses, dispensers, pharmacists and of course doctors within the practice and the numerous individuals and teams at St Peters Hospital, the community and Broomfield Hospital).

My heartfelt thanks to you all past and present. The greatest gratitude I feel however, is to the patients and their families who have allowed me the privilege of being their doctor over the years.

I have laughed with many, shared sadness and tears with some as we travelled our shared journey.

The way is not always as easy as family medicine has many uncertainties presenting huge challenges for those experiencing them as well as professionals.

Thank you so much for the lovely cards and letters you have sent – they are precious to me.

In the future I will continue to live in Maldon and remain part of this wonderful community.

Dr Robin Roper

Burgen Court Maldon