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‘The kindest of men’: Tributes paid to ‘wonderful’ Cove doctor after 10-year battle with blood cancer

David Fowler was a GP at Cove Bay and Kincorth Medical Centre for 35 years and team doctor for Cove Rangers FC.

Dr David Fowler
Dr David Fowler has been described as "a wonderful doctor and person." Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Hugely respected Cove Rangers FC doctor David Fowler has died following a 10-year battle with blood cancer.

The former Cove Bay and Kincorth Medical Practice GP and team doctor for the Altens-based club passed away at the age of 65 on Saturday.

His passing came just days after he took to the stage for Brave at P&J Live, which is organised by cancer charity Friends of ANCHOR.   

In a moving tribute from his former colleagues at the medical practice, they said it was fitting that his “last hoorah” was as part of a team, helping others.

“He nearly didn’t make it as his health further failed but with trademark determination to do his bit he joined his 23 new friends on the catwalk earlier this month,” they said.

“Everyone of them received huge support on an emotional couple of evenings but the arena simply erupted as David rose from his chair and with support made it up the catwalk to strut his stuff.

“It was somewhat fitting that his last hoorah was as part of a team helping others and giving every bit of strength left towards it.”

Dave on the stage during Brave. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

‘Care, compassion and warmth’

Dr Fowler, who was known as Dave, was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2013, which later became terminal in 2019.

Speaking to The Press and Journal about his illness earlier this year, he said: “I think it made me a better doctor; maybe even a better person.”

Originally from Drumoak, he joined Cove Bay Medical Practice in 1985.

His colleagues said his popularity grew rapidly among patients because of his “care, compassion and warmth”.

He retired from the practice in 2020 after 35 years to spend more time with his wife Hazel and son Calum.

However he continued with his passion, becoming a team doctor for local club Cove Rangers FC, a role he held previously between 1991 and 1995.

Cove Bay and Kincorth Medical Practice said he was the “kindest of men” as they revealed he had sadly passed away.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we inform of the passing of our dearly loved colleague after a long illness borne with immense courage and dignity,” they said in a moving post online.

Dave will be remembered as an “outstanding, caring doctor”. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

“Nothing was ever too much for him and he always found time for others in their time of need.

“His popularity grew and with it demands on his time, but he never complained, and his patients were happy to wait – he was worth it.

“Caring, listening and supporting were his vocation. To patients, staff and colleagues further flung he was simply the best.”

Colleagues were “honoured” to have worked with him

They added that few people would have been aware of his own health struggles over the last 20 years as he “cast these aside to concentrate on the plight of others”.

“We often heard from patients that they had spotted him helping out in various parts of the health service – he was just that sort of man,” they said.

“We are truly humbled and honoured to have worked with you. We are proud to have been colleagues and friends. You were not just a wonderful doctor but a wonderful person. You will never be forgotten.

“Should we all capture just a fraction of what made you such then we will be greatly the better for it. For all you did for us we are now due this for you.”

Dr Fowler always lived life to the full. Image: Supplied by Dave Fowler

Cove Rangers FC tribute to team doctor

Scottish League One club Cove Rangers FC has also paid tribute, remembering their “valuable” team doctor.

“A hugely popular member of staff, David has been club doctor since Cove’s early days in the Highland League, and back then he travelled to all away matches as well as attending home games,” they said.

Dave was one of two official club doctors at Cove Rangers. Image: Supplied by Dave Fowler

“David cut back on his involvement due to family commitments for a time, but following his retiral as a GP, he threw himself back into the role, travelling the length and breadth of the country to be there for the players, covering the matches as well as nightly training sessions.

“He did so, providing valuable support and expertise, until close to the end of last season.

“The ‘Doc’ will be sadly missed by all of us at the Balmoral Stadium.”

Former patients pay tribute to Dr Fowler

Countless former patients and co-workers have also shared tributes online.

Christine Mann wrote: “One of the nicest GPs I’ve had the pleasure of working with, supportive and generous with his time and laughs. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Alan Reid added: “Dave was my doctor who always made time for his patients. When you had an appointment with Dave, you knew that he would be running late because he cared.”

Suzy Sherrit said: “I’m truly sad to read this news. Dr Fowler helped me and my family through some of the hardest times of my life. Nothing was too small, and he always took the time you needed.

“I’m forever grateful to him for that.”