Doctor takes up new post in Falklands

AFTER setting off on a round-the-world cruise almost ten years ago, a Suffolk doctor has ended up holding the reigns of power in the Falkland Islands.Richard Davies today holds a post in the UK territory that is broadly equivalent to being an MP here.

AFTER setting off on a round-the-world cruise almost ten years ago, a Suffolk doctor has ended up holding the reigns of power in the Falkland Islands.

Richard Davies today holds a post in the UK territory that is broadly equivalent to being an MP here.

Dr Davies, who first came to Ipswich to do his GP training in 1989, set sail around the world with his wife, Sarah, in their yacht, Cowrie, in June 1996.

The 46-year-old said: “I worked as a GP at Hawthorn Drive Surgery, while my wife Sarah was a staff nurse at St Elizabeth Hospice.

“For some years, we had been fitting out a 36-foot steel yacht with a view to doing a long cruise.

“We hoped to sail around the world stopping somewhere en route to work. We decided to sail to the Falkland Islands with the intention of applying for the next medical officer post that arose.”

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During their eight-month cruise they went via Falmouth and Milford Haven, then down to the Azores, Madria, Cape Verde Islands and Brazil.

But in August that year, while the couple were in the Azores, they discovered that Sarah was pregnant.

Dr Davies added: “Sarah was seven months pregnant when we arrived in the Falklands in February 1997, so we were glad to arrive for more reasons than one!

“We decided to stay. We realised we really liked the place and I enjoyed my job as a medical officer.”

Dr Davies, who now lives in the Falkands capital Stanley with his wife, 43 and sons John, eight, and Jim, six, wanted to contribute more.

He said: “It's a very exciting time for the Falklands and the development of its relationship with the UK.

“We have got to improve our infrastructure and tourism and our fascinating heritage before it's too late.

“There is also a relatively new Argentine government, which has been taking a very aggressive stance and imposing economic sanctions.

“You need good people in politics and, as a doctor, I felt I could contribute.”

Dr Davies was elected a legislative councillor in a general election held in November.

He said: “The best thing is the feeling that you can really make a difference.”

But he has not given up on sailing entirely.

He said: “We have still got the yacht and maybe in the future we might go sailing again. It would be lovely to go to Brazil when the children are older and I am not a councillor any more.”

Do you have any memories of Dr Davies' time in Ipswich? Do you know someone who has gone to great lengths to explore the world? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

N The islands lie in the South Atlantic about 300 miles east of the South American coast

N They have a population of just under 3,000, the majority living in the capital Stanley

N English is the main language

N They have been under British administration since 1833

N An Argentine invasion took place in April 1982, sparking the Falklands War, but British sovereignty was restored on June 14.

N The islands are internally self-governed except for defence and foreign affairs, which is the responsibility of the British government.

N Eight legislative councillors are elected every four years. It is a part-time, unpaid role.

N Each year, the councillors elect three of their members to stand as members of the executive council.

N The executive council, which also includes two ex-officio members - the chief executive and the financial secretary - advises the governor.

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