MORE than 250 people gathered at Buckfast on Sunday to mark the retirement last December of Dr Peter Edwards, 59, of Landscove. He had been a GP in Buckfastleigh for 30 years and his patients, who had become his friends, came from the surrounding area to wish him well. They included the people who had been at the practice when he arrived in 1975 – Dr Derek Moore, Thelma Tolchard, Liz Dunstan and Nicola Butland. In 2000, Dr Edwards was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners after his name had been put forward by many Devon doctors to honour his work, not only as an exemplary GP, but also in acknowledgement of his role in training other doctors. It is thought that no other 'trainer' has taught more GPs than Dr Edwards. However, it was his rapport with his patients that was in evidence at the Grange Restaurant, Buckfast Abbey, on Sunday. Greeting him like the friend he has become, everyone wanted to wish him well. Among the tributes that were paid was one from the explorer Pen Hadow, who explained that when he was at home suffering from a serious illness, Dr Edwards had helped him recover when others had failed. Mr Hadow pointed out that when he reached the North Pole, another patient had succeeded at that time to climb Everest. Thanking the large gathering for all their good wishes and the health centre staff for all their support, Dr Edwards emphasised two aspects. He said that Buckfastleigh was fortunate to have Val Hoare as a pharmacist who was an untiring pillar of the whole community. This was greeted with loud applause. Dr Edwards also praised the care he had received over a weekend when he needed treatment at Torbay Hospital. He said they didn't know he was a doctor at first, and the treatment that he received had been excellent. Everyone was thankful he was able to join them so that they could wish their friend well in his retirement. – Contributed