Doctor devoted much of his working life to Todmorden

Dr Michael Grieve and his wife Heather, pictured on the occasion of their diamond wedding
Dr Michael Grieve and his wife Heather, pictured on the occasion of their diamond wedding

A doctor who dedicated more than three decades of hisd life to serving the people of Todmorden, John Michael Silvey Grieve died at the age of 86.

Dr Grieve, known as Michael to his family and friends, who included many of the people under his care, was born in Wallasey, eldest son of a Methodist Minister, Rev George Grieve and his wife Nora.

In those days Methodist Ministers moved every three years to a different church and Michael, and his younger sister Pamela, lived with their family in Blackwood in Wales;

central Halifax; Crumpsall, Whalley Range, Urmston within Manchester; and Crawshawbooth in Rawtenstall where he attended a Methodist school.

When living In Halifax his sister was severely ill and needed hospital treatment. It was the days before the National Health Service. The Methodist circuit clubbed together to pay for Pam to go to hospital as Rev George Grieve was poor and would not have been able to pay.

For this kindness the family were forever grateful, and following his winning a scholarship to go to Manchester Grammar School and later, possibly by another scholarship, to Trinity College Cambridge to study medicine, he trained to be a doctor at Guy’s Hospital in London, where he met his future wife Heather in the summer of 1952.

As he was newly qualified in 1953, first Michael had to complete his house jobs in hospital, at Rotherhythe and Bedford.

Heather and Michael married on December 5 1953, and two years’ National Service followed. In 1956 Michael became senior House Surgeon in Obstetrics and

Gynaecology at Cuckfield Hospital, Sussex, but after a year achieved his ambition to live near Manchester and arrived in Todmorden in October 1956, as an assistant in the

General Practice of Dr John de Ville Mather. This was at the old surgery at Claremont on Victoria Road.

After an initial year, Michael was made a partner at the General Practice. He and Heather had four children, Carolyn, Susan, Peter and Julia.

In his day, Dr Grieve was forward thinking and something of a pioneer.

When he first arrived in Todmorden, the midwives were responsible for home births and the doctors only became involved in an emergency. Dr Grieve believed that for a birth, the safest care was with two pairs of hands; with the doctor being part of the care throughout pregnancy alongside the midwives. He forged closer links to support the midwives, and the improved medical care contributed to reduction of emergencies, complications and deaths in pregnancy.

Dr Grieve was a keen on preventative medicine and with his partners was the first to carry out screening for cervical smears; he set up family planning advice ahead of his time; helped develop an on-call rota system; carried out research on hypertension; set up the first patient participation group; and introduced a computerised system.

He also campaigned for a purpose built health centre for the town, eventually built at Rose Street.

As a GP he loved learning and he learnt and practised manipulations and became a member of the British Association of Manipulative Medicine. He enjoyed being a trainer of future GPs.

He worked in Todmorden for 36 years, retiring following a stroke aged 64.

Michael was an enthusiast and seized life with both hands. He enjoyed adventurous holidays, boating; ski-ing; cruises on the waterways and with the Scottish National Trust.

He had a love of books and theatre and walking the dogs on the hills around his home.

Dr Grieve dedicated the majority of his working life to the people of Todmorden, and he died at home, in the town he had chosen to make his own.