Delight as plaque to ‘hero’ doctor is unveiled in Gosport

THE work of a doctor who lived and died in Gosport has been officially recognised in the town.

Dr Harry Angelman is the man who discovered Angelman Syndrome – a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and causes both physical and mental disability.

From left, mayor of Gosport Cllr Diane Furlong, Caroline Dinenage MP, James Shepherd (15), Nicole Dobbs (11) and Peter Patterson. Picture: David George

From left, mayor of Gosport Cllr Diane Furlong, Caroline Dinenage MP, James Shepherd (15), Nicole Dobbs (11) and Peter Patterson. Picture: David George

He retired to Lee-on-the-Solent and died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, but has never been fully acknowledged in the town, until a plaque was unveiled at the hospital earlier today.

The plaque has been installed thanks to the campaigning of former Lee-on-the-Solent greengrocer Peter Patterson, whose late son, Anthony, had Angelman Syndrome.

Today, Peter was joined by families whose lives are also affected by the disorder, as well as borough councillors, the mayor Diane Furlong and Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.

Nicole Dobbs, 11, from Locks Heath, unveiled the plaque with Ms Dinenage. The plaque sits at the end of the entrance hall to the War Memorial Hospital.

Peter Patterson's son Anthony, who died in 2003. Picture: Steve Reid/Blitz Photography

Peter Patterson's son Anthony, who died in 2003. Picture: Steve Reid/Blitz Photography

Peter said: ‘It is very kind of the hospital to allow the plaque to be installed and I am absolutely delighted that it has happened.

‘There are so many people that are living with Angelman Syndrome day-to-day in the surrounding area, and so it's about time there was a memorial to a man who I consider to be a bit of a hero.’

One of those families directly affected by Angelman Syndrome is the Shepherd family from Lee-on-the-Solent, as 15-year-old James has the disorder.

But his father David, 43, says that it doesn’t slow James down as he lives life to the fullest.

Nicole Dobbs (11) hugs Peter Patterson after he successfully campaigned for a plaque to Dr Harry Angelman to be installed in Gosport. Nicole has Angelman Syndrome herself, as did Peter's late son Anthony. Picture: David George

Nicole Dobbs (11) hugs Peter Patterson after he successfully campaigned for a plaque to Dr Harry Angelman to be installed in Gosport. Nicole has Angelman Syndrome herself, as did Peter's late son Anthony. Picture: David George

He said: ‘It is a very unusual condition but James is an absolute delight.

‘It was through Peter Patterson that I was able to find out more about my son’s condition; we went into his old greengrocers and Peter instantly recognised what James had, and we have learned a lot from him since then.

‘To see a plaque like this up today is just amazing.’

Alan Millard from Lee-on-the-Solent was Dr Angelman’s neighbour in Medina Court.

He says that the consultant paediatrician was a modest man with a big heart.

Mr Millard explained: ‘Harry was a very understated man – he told me that he didn't want the condition to be called Angelman Syndrome, but had no choice as these things are named after the person who discovers them.

‘He was a very quiet man but was one of the loveliest people I’ve met and I think he would be very proud of this plaque.’