HUNDREDS of people turned up to a memorial paying tribute to a much-loved doctor who faithfully served the Billericay community for more than 50 years.

Dr Ud Din, as his patients knew him, was born as Hameed Hudin.

He passed away in March, following complications from an operation to remove a tumour from his liver. But as records were not kept in the hospital in Delhi where he was born, his actual age remains a mystery.

“Dad told mum the day that he met her that he was 36, and he seemed to stay that age for many years!” said his daughter, Ayshea Uddin. “He always wanted to be treated like a young man.”

He studied at a medical college in Peshawar, India, before moving to the UK in the 1960s.

“Dad had just 20 pounds in his back pocket when he arrived with four of his best friends,” Miss Uddin said. “He’d heard there was a shortage of doctors in the NHS.”

Upon completing post-graduate training in Bayswater, Dr Din met his soon-to-be wife Ann in a hospital in North Wales, where he was in training and she worked as a nurse.

He moved on to work at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, while Mrs Hudin started midwifery. He then completed his GP training in Laindon Health Centre in the 1970s and bought a house on Church Road in Billericay, where the family still live today.

Dr Din’s first GP job was on Chapel Street in Billericay in 1974, and he then went on to set up as practitioner of his own clinic, Oakdin Surgery, on Billericay’s Laindon Road in 1981. “Many of dad’s patients came with him, so he had some of the same patients for 50 years,” Miss Uddin explained. “They loved him because he was able to have such a personal relationship with them. Everybody at the memorial event remembered how much time he gave – if his patients needed an hour, he gave them an hour.”

Mr Hudin’s wife Ann was a practice nurse at his surgery, so the couple worked together each day.

Because the Dr Din’s practice was relatively small with 780 patients on its books, the site is closing next Monday and patients will be dispersed to other centres. A lot of the elderly and vulnerable patients are now “quite scared” about where to go, Miss Uddin added. “They feel like they have lost a member of their family.”