PORTLAND Medical Centre has bid an emotional farewell to one of its longest-serving doctors.
About 100 patients and staff attended a party to thank Dr Sheila O'Hara, who has retired after 40 years as a Croydon GP.
They enjoyed tea and cakes at the practice in Portland Road, South Norwood, on Saturday.
"I have received many touching cards and presents from lots of patients but what impressed me most was the fact that so many came to the party – especially because the weather was so inclement," said Dr O'Hara.
She qualified in Manchester in 1969 and went on to become a GP trainer in 1981, chairing Croydon's training group. She sat on the borough's Local Medical Committee and also taught medical students across London.
Following a petition from Dr O'Hara and her business partner Dr Paddy Jackson, the practice was awarded a new contract by the NHS.
It later emerged that Dr Sondhi had duped staff and patients out of more than £260,000.
Dee Matthews, senior receptionist, said: "The medical centre has been through a lot, but our patients have been really loyal.
"They were there for us during the bad times so Sheila wanted to organise a party to say thank you.
"I know they are really sad to lose her."
Mrs Matthews, 63, added: "It won't be the same without her. We won't have to make so many cups of tea or buy so many biscuits, that's for sure.
"Sheila is a real character. She's very British so it was difficult for her to shed a tear, but she came close.
"She's got a great sense of humour too and liked to join in with the banter."