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Dr John Barham founder of Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club dies aged 97

By Sean Axtell

A long-serving doctor who treated thousands of patients and co-founded a popular sailing club has died, aged 97.

Dr John Barham, a father of two, treated thousands of patients at Hythe’s Sun Lane surgery from the 1950s to the 1980s.

He was also a founder of the Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club and the Umbrella Club – a charity to help vulnerable people.

Dr John Barham
Dr John Barham

His son, Christopher, said: “He was kindly, generous and caring, he was a well respected doctor.

“He recently had his platinum wedding anniversary after being married to mum for 70 years.

“My dad was a keen sailor since he was a boy. His main hobby as an adult was sailing. Most of my childhood memories with him are on the water.”

Originally from Southend in Essex, Dr Barham studied medicine at King’s College London, during the Second World War.

At the end of the war he served with the Royal Navy, touring in the Middle East, before returning and moving to Hythe as a general practitioner.

Christopher added: “Before the war he met my mum, Joy, while on holiday in Bournemouth.

“They stayed in touch and eventually got married. They moved to North Road West.”

Following retirement in the early 1980s, he set up the Hythe Umbrella Club, where residents could seek support on a wide range of issues.

Hythe Civic Society gave Dr Barham an award for services to the town in 2015.

During his time in medicine he joined the St John Ambulance Foundation as surgeon of the Hythe and Seabrook branch.

In 1968 he was admitted to the Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, and was made an officer of the order in 2005.

In later life, he lived with Joy in Church Road, before moving to a nursing home in Tunbridge Wells.

He leaves behind Joy, daughter Patricia and Christopher.

There will be a Memorial Service for Dr Barham at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Saltwood on Saturday November 18, from 2pm.

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