Spalding GP Dr Cath Hamblin to retire

Dr Cath Hamblin.
Dr Cath Hamblin.
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She has looked after the health of hundreds of South Holland people in her 22 years in Spalding.

Now, the time has come for Dr Cath Hamblin to retire to take care of her own wellbeing.

Cath, who joined what was then High Street surgery – now Munro Medical Centre – in 1992, has been diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Cath will finish work at the end of June in order to take more time for gentle exercise, something that is essential if she is to manage her condition effectively.

Hereditary spastic paraplegia is a group of inherited disorders that cause weakness and stiffness, of the leg muscles in Cath’s case, which gradually gets worse over time.

However, Cath is only relieved it wasn’t anything more sinister, and says it was “a known beast” as she inherited the condition from her father.

Cath (52) says: “By my age dad was on crutches, but he developed symptoms much younger than I did.

“I have had a good life. I don’t think it’s that bad a condition that you necessarily change things.”

One thing that has changed is that she and husband Peter Kite are no longer doing the type of expeditions that saw Cath climb up to 4,500 metres in Nepal in 1994.

That came about after being “roped in”, as Cath puts it, into being female cover with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme locally, and going on expeditions in particular, where her first aid knowledge was likely to be useful.

Cath had no difficulties with her legs then and loved the expedition.

Duke of Edinburgh has been part of her life since, and was how she met Peter, who was at that time chairman of the local committee. They married in 2008.

Cath and Peter, who simply assess expeditions now rather than being part of the training and safety team, plan to continue to walk, tackle a few gentle hills, and spend time doing more UK travel with their rescue dog Toto.

Cath is looking forward to finishing work. She says: “It’s just got so busy, the level of paperwork and checking things. The surgery is well organised and they are a great team of nurses and admin staff, but I am still shattered at the end of the day.”