SOUTH WOODFORD: Doctor sells flat to finance mental health clinic in Calcutta

Asian Image: Dr Brahma in his Calcutta office Dr Brahma in his Calcutta office

A RETIRED doctor is selling his South Woodford home to help finance a clinic for the mentally ill in Calcutta.

Dr Rupendra Brahma, 74, who retired as head of psychiatry at Whipps Cross hospital in 1993, promised his mother he would one day return to his native India to help the sick and needy.

Now he has decided to live in Calcutta permanently, putting his one bedroom flat in Hermon Hill up for sale to help pay for the clinic which he built in 1998 to honour his mother's wish.

He said: “As a young man I had no intention of going into medicine, but my mother said ‘I want one of my sons to be a doctor’.

“Shortly before I left for England in 1963 she said ‘Promise me that one day you will return to Calcutta to help people.’

“She passed away in 1985 and my wife Mary and I bought the plot of land where the clinic now stands shortly after.

“Building a mental health clinic was my way of honouring my promise to my mother, but it was also something that both I and Mary were fiercely committed to."

The couple ploughed their life savings into the project but tragically Mary never lived to see the clinic open, dying of cancer at the age of 57 in 1998.

Dr Brahma explained: “I was able to show her a video of the finished building before she died.

“She was delighted by it, but of course my heart was broken.

“I still feel her spirit around the clinic and I say ‘goodbye’ to her whenever I leave the place.”

The Umanalini Mary Clinic and Research Institute, which has 20 inpatients and treats hundreds of others every year, is named after Mary and Dr Brahma’s mother.

It receives no government funding and is entirely dependant on charitable donations.

Dr Brahma added: “It takes a lot of energy to run, and it is time to put my entire heart and soul into the clinic.

“Of course I will miss South Woodford and all my friends.

“But this will be my legacy, just as my mother and Mary would have wanted it to be.”

The doctor’s flat is on the market for £189,950.

Alec Peduto, of Theydon’s estate and letting agency in South Woodford, has agreed to waive his usual fee for selling the property.

He said: “I can’t charge a fee for something like this.

“It seems like the right thing to do and hopefully we can get a good price for him.”

To find out more about Dr Brahma’s work in Calcutta visit www.unmbrahmatrust.org.uk

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