A prescription for art from former doctor celebrating centenary year

Perry with his grandson Graeme
Perry with his grandson Graeme

An exhibition of paintings by a retired GP who celebrates his 100th birthday this month is showing at the Kirk Rooms, Strathblane from today.

Perry Harrison, who was 100 years old on Saturday, November 21, moved to Blanefield with his wife and two daughters in 1950.

He served the village and surrounding rural communities for the next 35 years, along with his work at the former Schaw Hospital in Bearsden.

In those days before mobile phones, Perry would often arrive home from a visit to a patient living on a remote farm, only to have to turn around and head off to another home visit miles away.

His daughter-in-law Linda Harrison, said: “As a single-handed GP, Perry was never ‘off-duty’ other than an annual family holiday.

“Dedication to his patients meant being available seven days a week, 24 hours a day - even his Christmas dinner often ended up back in the oven while he did a house call.”

Perry graduated from Glasgow University before the war and served as a medical officer with the Atlantic convoys, sailing between Londonderry and Newfoundland as far as New Zealand.

During his war service in both the Merchant and Royal Navies, the young doctor faced some very difficult situations, including dealing with large numbers of survivors from torpedoed vessels, often with insufficient medical supplies to administer to the injured and dying.

All his commitments meant that Perry had little time for his hobbies.

However, he always had his sketch book in his car alongside his medical bag and while he was on his rounds he’d draw a building or scene which he’d transform into a watercolour painting later.

Linda added: “Over the years, he has produced hundreds of beautiful works depicting his love of the area he had come to live and work in.”

His son David added: “My dad is essentially a modest man who would dispute that he could be an inspiration to others, even though two of his grandchildren have followed in his footsteps in medicine.

“He would simply say that he has tried his best to serve his community despite his failings.”

Perry has now decided to take things at a slower pace and recently retired from his last volunteering job at Balmore Coach House where he cleaned and restored old tools to send to Africa.

He also used to deliver meals on Wheels for the ‘old folk’ who were mostly younger than him.

The exhibition which begins today (Thursday, November 26) ends on Saturday, November 28 and includes 50 paintings available for sale - all the proceeds will go to charitable causes.