A COMMUNITY will bid farewell to a couple who have cared for generations of patients as they retire.

Dr John Cormack and his wife Sue are set to retire from medicine on April Fool's Day.

The couple, who have cared for patients in South Woodham Ferrers for 40-years were best known as the beating heart of the Greenwood Surgery in Tylers Ride.

Dr Cormack said: "I shall be 72 in April and it's time to hand the practice over to younger doctors.

"As well as having to take old age and decrepitude into account, my family has been suggested, repeatedly that I spend more time with my grandchildren and less weekends at the practice.

"The trouble with good old fashioned general practice is that you either have to do it flat out and to the best of your ability, or not at all."

Mrs Cormack, who had been a nurse at the surgery for many years has already been very busy outside of the practice, looking after their four grandsons, which is becoming "increasingly difficult" to fit around their work.

Dr Cormack has always been a passionate supporter of the NHS, and has combated its leadership on a number of occasions, changing his name to "Dr John Cormack" by deed poll and in 2014 he even sent a letter to then health secretary Jeremy Hunt, urging him to work for no pay.

He is very proud of the work they have been able to do over the past four decades, treating some patients they have known for the full time they have run the surgery.

He said: "We've built up a great team at Greenwood Surgery which has made working there a pleasure - so it will be a huge wrench for us to hang up our stethoscopes."

The practice will be taken over by Dr Maya Mistry and Dr Smitesh Patel, who have been practicing in other surgeries in Essex for a long time.

Dr Cormack described his heirs as "very experienced and multi-talented" doctors that will continue the Cormacks' good work.

Despite retirement, this is not the end of the family's connection with South Woodham Ferrers however.

Dr Cormack added: "We'll be staying in the area for a time and we will take an interest in what happens in Woodham so you won't see the back of just yet.

"We will try and find a way of seeing our patients before we bow out - we're hoping to arrange a little get together."