Popular Preston dentist who got caught up in military coup retires after 50 years caring for city's pearly whites
A Deepdale dentist and lifelong Preston resident has retired from his beloved profession after 50 years.
Michael Hamer, 82, trained as a dental surgeon at the University of Durham and started his career in Deepdale Road, later moving to the St Gregory’s Road practice.
His daughter, Kate Hamer, says he is retiring ‘due to COVID-19’ and ‘would have carried on until he was 90 if he'd had his way’.
Even though COVID restrictions prevent a larger celebration, Michael’s family want to celebrate his career and ‘dedication to his patients'.
During his time at Preston Grammar School, Michael was made deputy head boy, then, after completing his bachelor in dental surgery, he went on to work in hospitals and general surgery.
While working as a dental registrar at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, Michael met his wife of 53 years, Sandra, a night sister.
After they married in 1968, Michael and Sandra travelled to Tripoli, Libya where they worked in a private hospital.
Caring for patients was not the only challenge they faced and they were caught up in a military coup instigated by Colonel Gaddafi in 1969.
The hospital where they worked was forced to close and, with 5-month-old son Nicholas in tow, the couple lived under curfew and were not allowed to return home for a further two weeks.
Michael and Sandra were feared missing by their families who had no information on their whereabouts during the coup.
Eventually, they returned to the UK and decided to settle in Preston.
Michael started work at a dental surgery on Deepdale Road and the couple welcomed their second child, Kathryn.
The family made their home in Grimsargh, eventually moving to their current home in Longridge.
A lifelong Preston North End fan, Michael had the honour of caring for the pearly whites of Sir Tom Finney and other PNE players and staff.
Michael’s family says he is described as a ‘real gentleman’ by everybody he meets and he hopes to continue his hobbies of gardening, football, travel, reading and visiting his grandchildren well into his retirement.
At the age of 82, the dentist has been forced to shield due to COVID-19.
Michael says he will ‘greatly miss’ his patients, many of whom have grown up in front of the family dentist, and he is thankful to his loyal staff who have supplied him with plenty of dark chocolate over the years.