Dedicated doctor with real passion for sport

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A doctor who worked at the county’s two biggest hospitals for 40 years has died.

Bhagwan Khushaldas Samtani, who was 81 when he died, worked at Northampton General Hospital for 10 years before moving to Kettering General Hospital, where he was a consultant physician for 30 years before retiring in 1995.

His dedication to the health service was such that he was given an OBE by the Queen in 1990, for services to Kettering Health Authority.

His wife, Catherine, said: “When he moved to England in 1955 he was the only Indian doctor where he worked and they couldn’t cope with his real name, so he was known as Sam to his friends.

“He was a consultant physician with an interest in general medicine and cardiology.

“In his younger days he was a great dancer and loved watching sport – he was a very big cricket fan.”

Dr Samtani was a talented sportsman, winning awards for his tennis, badminton and cricket skills in Bombay.

And he once took all 11 wickets in a 12-a-side cricket match at Castle Ashby in 1971 – a record he was given a trophy for.

Dr Samtani moved to England as a newly qualified doctor, having done his training in Bombay, which is now known as Mumbai. He was the youngest of four brothers.

He met Catherine, who was his second wife, in 1976 when they both worked at Kettering General hospital. They were married in April 1980.

They had two children, Carl, 29, and Bernice, 27. Dr Samtani also had three children, Shane, Sheena and Adrian, from his first marriage.

As well as an OBE, during his career he was awarded a fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

He died on February 2 after going into hospital with a chest infection, which led to pneumonia. He had a history of heart problems.

His funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Tuesday at Kettering Crematorium.

Mrs Samtani said: “He thought of Kettering as his home and his only real difficulty came when England played India at cricket, but he would always root for England.

“He initially meant to come here to gain some experience and then return to India, but he never did.

“He was born in Karachi, which is now part of Pakistan, but he always insisted that he was Indian.

“Cardio was his main interest, his heart let him down and we all loved him, so Valentine’s Day seemed perfect for the funeral.”