LIVES first days with Dr Cooper

‘My father’s passion for care was a real driving force’

Suzi Lumbard lives in her village home in Lincolnshire, her late father, Dr Cooper, was a driving force for the formation of LIVES, and she proudly gives her personal account of how LIVES was a true family affair.

From a young age, Suzi can remember her father’s determination to get LIVES started; “I remember the whirling sound of the old style duplicating drum that would sit in the office at bottom of our stairs at home. I’d often creep out of bed to hear Dad, with the help of my Mum, working late into the night to create hundreds of mailing letters to drum up support Dad needed to fund his work.”

Dr Cooper, originally from York, moved to Lincoln in 1965. A graduate from the Cambridge University and Royal London Hospital he used his skill and experience as a GP in Nettleham to help the community. His surgery based on East Street, Nettleham became his working home.

Suzi tells us how for her father, being a doctor wasn’t just his job, it was his life. “Dad could get called out at any time. In those days, GP’s were on call 24 hours a day, I can even recall times where patients came to our house.”

Looking back over 50 years ago, the road network and vehicles hugely impacted on the time taken to get to patients. Just as today the rural nature of Lincolnshire plays a huge role in why the demand for LIVES service is so important.

Dr Cooper knew that when minutes matter, there needed to be a better process in place, often ambulances were taking too long, and patient outcomes were affected. In 1970, with the support of friend and fellow Doctor, Dr Harper Smith, he called upon the support of doctors across the county to be there in an emergency, and Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES) was born.

A little over a year later, in January of 1971, after their initial call for help, Dr Cooper had secured over 90 doctors to support his call to action. This army of physicians often had the support of their family and work colleagues to ensure LIVES goal could be achieved. Suzi recalled, “Mum became just as much a part of LIVES as Dad. She would be at home taking the calls and relaying the patient information and location.” Dr Cooper’s Office Manager, Mallie Daubney also gave support, his passion for patient care inspiring so many.

Everyone at LIVES knows the importance of Dr Cooper’s part in our charity, his dedication along with many others is why we have saved so many lives.