New road named after much-loved GP

Michelle Pomeroy celebrates the unveiling of Pomeroy Way, named in honour of her husband Richard

Michelle Pomeroy celebrates the unveiling of Pomeroy Way, named in honour of her husband Richard

A much-loved doctor at Chelmsley Wood, who died aged 76 last year, has had a new road there named after him.

Dr Richard Pomeroy single-handedly set up the first GP surgery on the sprawling Birmingham overspill estate as it was still being built in the 1960s.

Later, he played a leading part in founding the pioneering Craig Croft medical practice there, which among other things, worked to improve maternity services and tackling alcohol and drug problems in a deprived area.

Over the years more services were offered and the practice became a clinic, or almost a mini-village hospital.

Irish-born Dr Pomeroy – usually known as Dick and dubbed by some locals the “saint of Chelmsley Wood” – spent around 40 years working on the estate. Hundreds of people, including many former patients, turned out for his funeral last July.

After his death, medical centre staff started a petition to Solihull Council to have a road in newly-regenerated north Solihull named after him.

Dr Pomeroy hailed from the coastal town of Youghal in County Cork and was the son of a bank manager.

He underwent his training as a doctor at Cork University College Medical School.

Prior to that he had a variety of jobs, including coal miner and radio officer on a freighter, before he enrolled at medical school – meaning he had already experienced a broad spectrum of life when he took up his first job as a doctor in England.

He initially worked in Stratford-upon-Avon and Walsall before moving to Birmingham.

He worked as a locum at Alum Rock in the city, but when he heard about the city council’s plans for the major housing development in Chelmsley Wood, he knew immediately it would provide the challenge he wanted.

Now a thoroughfare – close to the old Craig Croft centre and part of the new Chelmund’s Cross development – has been named Pomeroy Way.

The new road was unveiled by Dr Pomeroy’s surviving family members, his second wife Michelle, daughters, Sarah, Rachel, Liddy, Helen, Becky and step-daughter Kate.

Michele Pomeroy, who made a short speech to officially name the road, said: “Just about the biggest occasion in Dick’s life was receiving the MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1993. He was very proud of that.

“But he would have felt humbled and thrilled to have a road named after him in Chelmsley Wood. After his family, the thing he loved most in life was working as a GP for the local people. He did it for around 40 years, until he was quite old.

“I don’t know for sure what Dick would make of the new Chelmsley Wood with all the urban regeneration that’s going on, but I think he would probably approve. He always thought Chelmsley Wood deserved to have the benefit of investment to improve people’s lives.

“Dick loved the people and loved working in the area. He built a wonderful practice that served the community well.

“Speaking on behalf of the family I can only say how delighted we all are that the community he served for so long has found such a lovely way to honour him. This will be a lasting memorial to a lovely man and we thank them all wholeheartedly.”

Pauline Allen, chair of the local residents’ interest group, said: “It was a unanimous decision that when we knew we needed a new road name that we should choose to recognise Dick Pomeroy’s work in this area by naming it Pomeroy Way.

Wendy Earl, Dr Pomeroy’s secretary, said: “I’m so pleased that we have been able to find a way to commemorate ‘Pom’ – I know he’d have been chuffed to have a road named after him.”

Dr Pomeroy, who formerly served on the West Midlands Regional Health Authority, was awarded his MBE for “services to the people of Birmingham”.

Among his many interests was aviation – he was a qualified pilot – and among other things he gave medical check-ups to air crews based at Birmingham Airport.