Local Face: Kaye Lillycrop

When Kaye Lillycrop came to Wendover for the first time ever, she drove over the switchback known as Ellesborough Road and instantly fell in love with the area. She was on her way to a job interview and was absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Wendover for the rest of her working life. In Halton where she lives, she is known as Mrs Lillycrop, most of us know her as Dr Smith.

Kaye Smith was born in Australia and completed her initial medical training in Melbourne. Before embarking on G.P. training in Australia, in 1981 she took a three month travelling career break, mostly in the U.K. In London she started work in paediatrics at Kings and Westminster Childrens. She always intended to return to Australia but married and settled in England instead. That was how she found herself looking for a practice in the Chilterns rather than the Outback.

Mr and Mrs Lillycrop first moved to Weston Turville in 1984 where they were a typical newly married professional couple, both completely committed to their full time occupations. This meant that although they enjoyed living in the area they did not fully participate in the local community.

Dr Smith joined the doctors at Wendover Health Centre in July 1984 while Dr Morton was taking maternity leave. By October 1985 Dr Smith herself was taking maternity leave heralding the arrival of Jonathan and soon afterwards both “lady doctors” at the practice entered into a full job share. This has ensured that since 1979/80 there has always been access to at least one woman doctor.

The Lillycrops have always been keen walkers and enjoyed the canal path. An idle dream was to own the canal side cottage in Halton Village. Much to their surprise, one day when they were walking past they noticed a For Sale sign. To cut a long story short, they moved in May 1986. Halton appealed not just because of this property but also because it is a village community. Living beside the canal is as idyllic as expected. Most mornings Kaye will see a kingfisher.

A family with children cannot help but be part of local life. Full time working makes it difficult to become involved with the day time things often available to women but Kaye Lillycrop found that having children automatically increased her local contacts, Joining the tennis club has also helped to get to know other villagers. This welcome extends to other newcomers in the village. Not having children does not preclude anyone from sharing village life.

In a village with no shop, post office or pub the only natural gathering places are the Village Hall and the Church. The Church is well attended but to ensure the young ones are properly catered for, Kaye and some other parents are very involved with the monthly Family Service. Her second son Christopher was baptised in Halton and the latest addition to the family, Catherine will be baptised there on Easter Sunday.

Dr Smith will be back in the surgery in May. This is an exciting time to be s GP with all the current changes in the NHS nationally and special developments locally. The practice is now a ‘centre of excellence’ in G.P. training because of its reputation for serving the local community. Dr Smith is ‘heavily involved’ with this training and sees this as a developing role for the future.