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Millionaire donates £1m to GP surgery

A ‘fairy godmother’ businessman has spent £1 million of his own money to save a village surgery in danger of closure.

Local businessman Ray Grocott stepped in to build a brand new property for Prees Medical Centre after GP Dr Guy Carter announced his plans to retire, which would have left the village of Prees without a surgery

Mr Grocott, the chairman of storage and distribution firm Grocontinental, said the generous gesture was inspired by the long service of the village GP practice to his family and the people of Prees.

He said: ‘I’m a chap who’s lived in the village all my life, our family have been all born there, we’re used to the proper GPs – the old original ones. We’ve had such good service and there’s no way that I fancied all the village people having to travel to Wem or Whitchurch.

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‘So I looked around, spoke to a few people, and then decided to do it out of our family charity.’

The Grocott Family Charitable Trust will lease the building to the NHS for a nominal rent for the next 15 years. Construction cost £1m, and the new practice opened for business this week.

Dr Jim Bartlett, lead GP at the surgery, said the practice would likely been forced to close without the intervention of ‘fairy godmother’ Mr Grocott.

He added: ‘It’s fantastic. We would have been completely in trouble without it. We tried to find two or three other sites that we got quite far down the line with plans, and they fell through mainly because of funding. Either they cost too much to convert, or there just wasn’t money available at the time from the CCGs and NHS England.

‘So when he came up with an offer to build us something, it was exactly what we needed and we couldn’t have done it without him.’