Prof. Nick Cooper
I was born in Nottingham and grew up in Liverpool - the place to be in the 60s! From a young age I expressed a strong desire to study medicine and in 1970 followed in my brother's footsteps to The London Hospital Medical and Dental College.
As a student I developed an interest in child health, spending a three month elective period at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore studying paediatric neuro-development. Following qualification I worked in paediatric departments at Guy's and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals, achieving college membership in 1979.
Wanting to be more involved in continuity of care, family practice, and also the meeting of my wife who is from Somerset, led to me re-locating to Exeter in 1980 to train as a general practitioner. Two years later I was offered the opportunity to take over a long-established single-handed practice here in Totnes from Dr Barry Shelmerdine.
Since this time the practice has grown considerably, moving from Bridgetown to the centre of town in 1983, then building Catherine House in 1987, and the addition of three doctors - the latest actually being my son.
I have a passion for helping the development of future generations of doctors and have been involved in GP training for 25 years, and since the opening of The Peninsula Medical School in 2002 the practice has welcomed medical students at various stages of their training.
Alongside practice commitments I hold key roles in the development of the medical school in undergraduate and postgraduate education. This includes work as an examiner at Dundee and Warwick Medical Schools and The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. I spent some time at Harvard Medical School in 2010 and was recently appointed an Associate Professor in Clinical Education.
I consider myself immensely fortunate to have lived and raised a family in such a beautiful area. During my spare time I enjoy walking our Cavalier King Charles spaniels, collecting antique maps and following the variable fortunes of Everton Football Club.
Dr Andrew Pettinger
I was born in Leicester, in doing so receiving a life-sentence of becoming a Leicester City Supporter. Having worked in a night shelter in Central London, my first career after a degree in history, was to train and then work as a probation officer, also in Central London.
Having then worked out what I really wanted to do, and having updated my qualifications with an 'O' level (as then was) in chemistry, I then trained at Southampton Medical School. I then moved to Devon, doing the GP training scheme at Derriford before joining the practice in 1992, and remain as keen and enthusiastic about general practice as when I joined, also considering it to be good fortune to have worked and brought up a family in such a special place.
I do regular shifts with Devon Doctors On-Call, the local Out-of-Hours Service. Within the Practice I prescribe for opiate misusers, the shared care scheme with the Devon Drug Service.
Outside work, and despite being a long way past a best-before date, I continue to play football and also do distance running, aiming to do at least a couple of half marathons a year. I also play the organ at a local church.
Dr James Cooper
After completing my A-levels locally at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School I moved up to Birmingham, a city with which I have strong family connections, to start medical training in 2000.
I have always wanted to be a general practitioner - doubtlessly influenced by my dad’s boundless enthusiasm for the job - and my experiences at medical school did little to sway me from this career path. I invariably sought out opportunities to better my understanding of community healthcare, including spending an elective period at a GP surgery in the remote environment of the most northern tip of mainland Scotland.
While I grew accustomed to the bright lights and hustle and bustle of a large city, I never lost my desire to work ultimately in a more rural area and this led me to undertake my GP specialty training in and around Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
When the chance then arose to return to the picturesque and friendly surrounds of my hometown of Totnes, I immediately seized upon it with both hands.
While I consider myself to be interested in all aspects of general practice, including student education and surgery management, I do harbour a particular passion for medical history. I was fortunate enough to undertake a BMedSc degree in the subject, largely involving primary-source research into so-called ‘quack’ practitioners operating in 18th-century Georgian Birmingham.
When not at work I enjoy playing any sport requiring a racket, honing my DIY skills and trying unsuccessfully to keep an eye on my mischievous collection of cats who were ‘adopted’ after being born to a stray mother in the garden of my former Birmingham home.