A FORMER surgeon, who was instrumental in the creation of Basingstoke hospital, has left the borough.

On Friday, Dr Frank Tovey, OBE, and his wife Winnie left their Crossborough Hill home, and moved to Lymington.

Dr Tovey worked for nearly 20 years at the hospital, in Aldermaston Road and was one of those on the original committee behind the creation of the hospital.

Dr Tovey, 91, said: “Things have changed an awful lot since then. At the start, I was the only resident surgeon.”

He first moved to the area in 1967 and specialised in gastroenterology at the hospital, where he was a consultant surgeon.

Even after retiring at the age of 65 in 1986, he continued to work at the foot clinic, which he set up, for a further six years.

Before moving to Basingstoke he and Winnie, now 93, spent two years working in China and 16 years in India, where Dr Tovey treated lepers, using innovative reconstruction techniques, while Winnie helped with his research.

He was awarded his OBE in 1966 for services to surgery and leprosy in India.

Dr Tovey said: “Throughout my life, it has always been very much a team effort with Winnie.”

The couple, who are moving to a retirement complex, have four children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and the move will bring them closer to their daughter and two of their grandsons.

Dr Tovey said: “It will be easier for us to have some assistance and it will be nice to be closer to family.

“We will miss some things, though, like our garden!”

Dr Tovey, a past president of The Probus Club of Basingstoke, has been conferred a life membership by the group.

Probus vice-president Paul Flint said Dr Tovey would be greatly missed.