Peak practice for adventurous GP

A DOCTOR has told how she is planning to climb Everest after giving up her practice.Mother-of-six Dr Mary Selby works as a GP in Newmarket but, after a trekking trip through Nepal, says she has rediscovered a lifelong ambition to climb mountains.

A DOCTOR has told how she is planning to climb Everest after giving up her practice.

Mother-of-six Dr Mary Selby works as a GP in Newmarket but, after a trekking trip through Nepal, says she has rediscovered a lifelong ambition to climb mountains.

Dr Selby, also a published novelist and music teacher, has set up a charitable touring company and is planning an ascent of Everest.

The 44-year-old, who lives with her husband Neville, also a doctor, at Great Wratting, near Haverhill, had long harboured hopes of climbing - but a busy job and the demands of motherhood put paid to her ambition, until a family trip to Nepal reawakened her dream.


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She said: "I've always had itchy feet and I've always intended to climb, but I've got six children and I always seemed to be pregnant.

"In 2000 I went on a charity trek and as soon as I finished I wanted to go back."

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So strong was the urge that Dr Selby was soon organising her next trip, taking a party of 41 people, ten of whom were under the age of ten. Despite being struck by lightning and having an encounter with a wild rhinoceros, it confirmed what she really wanted to do.

Now she has handed in her notice at the Rookery Practice in Newmarket where she has worked for the last five years, and set up a charitable company called Community Action Treks for Schools, which will raise money for Nepalese charity CAN, founded by mountaineer Doug Scott.

She will still be working as a doctor on the treks they organise and said she is looking forward to the new challenge.

"It's a different set of challenges as a doctor on the treks, there's no one to consult with, you have to make an on the spot decision, you can't ask for a blood test, it's exiting and you have to rely on yourself," she said.

Being struck by lightning hasn't put her off either: "It was literally quite a shock, apparently the lightning strikes the ground and the shock is transmitted through the surface water.

"My husband was behind me when it happened and I was thrown three of four feet into the air, but apart from a bit of burning on the backs of my legs I was unhurt.

"My children are getting older, they're not old but they're growing up and I will probably be away for about 20 weeks of the year, but when I'm back I will be more there than usual because I won't be at the practice, and although I'll be working my time will be completely theirs."

Her other career as a novelist, both under her own name and that of Joanna Bell, has seen six of her books published, the latest of which, Entertaining Angels, sold more than 25,000 copies.

"I don't like to think of myself as just one thing, either a novelist or a doctor," she explained, "but being a doctor on the treks is the most fun I've ever had as a GP.

"But I didn't want to just go trekking, I wanted to be doing something, so working as a doctor on the treks is ideal, it's all come together really."

For more information on charity treks to Nepal visit the web site cancharitytreks@bigfoot.com

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