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Kettering Evening Telegraph 24 March 1983, Also 25 and 26 August and September 1983
Photograph of Dr Bird
Dr Bird - popular GP
Patients saddened by the retirement of a popular Burton Latimer doctor have asked for a special fund to be set up in the town.

Ill-health has forced Dr Jonathan Bird to retire from the High Street Health Centre where he has worked since it opened 13 years ago.

As soon as patients heard the news, they pressed health centre staff to open a special retirement gift fund account at the town's Barclays Bank branch.

A health centre spokesman said: "Dr Bird is a very popular GP. A lot of patients have been asking staff how they can show their appreciation and so now we've opened this account. Anyone wishing to donate something can pop into the High Street Barclays."

Dr Bird, who is married with two children, lives in Isham. He now looks forward to spending more time with his family and pursuing his hobby of photography.

Recently, he entered a pharmaceutical firm's photography competition and his picture of a rose won him a camera. Roche, the company, use the photograph in their advertising campaigns.

Dr Bird said: "Ill-health means I will not be doing anything for a while. I look forward to that, really. But I shall miss all the friends I have made here. Many patients have become friends."

Although Dr Bird will not reitre officially until March 31, colleagues have already given gifts. He has been presented with a painting of Isham Church by fellow GPs Dr Ken Padget, Dr Michael Spencer and Dr Martin James.

And health centre staff gave him a case to hold photographic equipment.

Dr Bird will be replaced by Dr Shirley Bernall.

Dr Bird, had moved his home to Spain to attempt to improve his health in a warmer climate. Unfortunately he was involved in a horrific road crash and did not survive. The following articles recall the event and the return of his body to England.


A retired Isham doctor has been killed in a horrific road crash in Spain.

Dr Jonathan Bird is believed to have plunged over a ravine while overtaking and ploughed into a train.

The late night accident happened on Tuesday near Valencia where he had bought a villa for his retirement.

Dr Bird, who lived at Sorrel Close, Isham, and worked at Burton Latimer Health Centre before leaving at the end of March, had gone to Spain on medical advice.

He had been suffering from a wasting disease for several years and had bought a flat on the Costa Del Azahar.

His former partner, Dr Ken Padget, said: "We have heard that Jonathan was overtaking in his new Granada. He apparently failed to get back on his side of the road and plunged over the ravine and hit the train.

"It sounds absolutely horrific. We are all very upset about it.

"I had known him for nearly 40 years. We trained together in London and I saw him just before he left for Spain about two weeks ago.

"He looked a lot better than he had done for a while and said he hoped to come back for Christmas."

Dr Bird and his wife Sally had recently sold their Isham home. She now lives in Barton Seagrave and was due to visit her husband in September. The couple have two young children.


The body of retired Jonathan Bird who was killed in a road accident in Spain is due to be brought home this weekend.

Arrangements are being made by business friend, estate agent Mr David Headland, for an international firm of funeral directors to bring back the body.

Further details about the tragic accident on Tuesday night have emerged.

Dr Bird was returning to his newly-bought apartment 60 miles from Valencia in his Ford Granada after visiting a nearby village. He overtook a lorry and plunged over a ravine into the path of an oncoming train which was derailed.

Dr Bird, who retired from Burton Latimer Health Centre in March, had moved to Spain for health reasons. He had been suffering from a wasting disease for several years and had been advised to live in a warm climate.

Mr Headland, who sold him his apartment at Las Fuentes on the Costa del Azahar, said; "I left Jonathan in Spain about a fortnight ago. He seemed to be happy and in good fettle."

Dr Bird and his wife Sally had recently sold their family home in Sorrel Close, Isham.


County coroner Michael Collcutt today refused to sign a cremation order for the body of Dr Jonathan Bird, killed in an accident in Spain last month.

At an inquest into Dr Bird’s death consultant pathologist Dr Peter Andrews said visible identification was not possible and that enquiries were still taking place to confirm the identity.

He said he was checking medical and dental records and fingerprints of Dr Bird, who lived at St James Close in Kettering.

Mr Collcutt said: “I will defer signing the cremation order until further confirmation that the body was in fact the late Dr Bird.”

A memorial service is to be held tomorrow at 11 am at Isham Parish Church.

No post mortem was carried out on Dr Bird in Spain but Dr Andrews said death was due to multiple injuries. The inquest was adjourned.

Dr Bird, who retired from Burton Latimer Health Centre in March, died after overtaking a lorry in his Ford Granada, which plunged over a ravine into the path of an oncoming train, which was derailed.

The accident happened close to his new apartment, 60 miles from Valencia. He moved there to be in a warm climate because he suffered from a wasting disease.

An international firm of funeral directors brought his body back on Wednesday. Arrangements were made by a friend, estate agent Mr David Headland, who sold him the apartment at Les Fuentes, on the Costa del Azahar.

Dr Bird and his wife, Sally, recently sold the family home in Sorrel Close, Isham.

Donations to help sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis – an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord affecting the muscles – can be sent to Phillips funeral directors, Princes Street, Kettering.


Spanish authorities refused to co-operate with inquiries into the death of a Burton Latimer doctor whose car crashed into the path of an express train. County coroner Michael Collcutt told an inquest yesterday he would have to rely on hearsay evidence collected by the doctor’s widow and a friend after the accident.

He said: “I regret the delay in holding this inquest, but the Spanish authorities appear to have refused to appear to hand over documents and copies of statements to the British Consulate so they could be forwarded to me.”

Dr Jonathan Bird, 56, died on August 23, only 12 days after moving to Spain for health reasons. He was suffering from a virus, which attacks the nervous system and lead to bouts of drowsiness and lack of attention.

His body was brought back to Kettering and on September 2 consultant pathologist Dr Peter Andrews carried out a post mortem.

He said Dr Bird died from haemorrhage and shock due to multiple injuries. The body had been embalmed, so it was not possible to carry out tests for alcohol or drugs.

Mr Collcutt recorded a verdict of accidental death and said: “I have no doubt that his illness was probably the main, if not the sole cause of the accident.”

Dr Bird retired from Burton Latimer Health Centre in March and moved to Spain in August. His wife Sally stayed in Kettering with their eight-year-old daughter.

After the accident she went to Spain with Mr David Headland whose company had sold Dr Bird his apartment at Las Fuentes on the Costa Del Azabar.

They uncovered details of the accident by talking to the police and people in the area. It appeared Dr Bird was travelling towards Las Fuentes when his Ford Granada smashed through a barrier on to the railway line. No other vehicle was involved and the road was in good condition.

Motor trader Thomas Elliott, of William Street, Burton Latimer, and his family had driven out to Spain with Dr Bird on August 11.

During the journey, when the Elliotts did nearly all the driving, Dr Bird had been very ill and was at times only semi-conscious.

On their arrival at Las Fuentes the doctor spent three or four days asleep in bed. But then he seemed to get better and appeared to have recovered by the time the Elliotts left on August 22.

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