THERE were tears when a much-loved surgeon retired from the Countess of Chester Hospital after 28 years.

George Foster, a consultant colo-rectal surgeon, was treated to a presentation and buffet where colleagues said an emotional farewell.

Accompanied by wife Linda, a GP in Tattenhall, he was also asked to blow out the candles on a cake in celebration of his 66th birthday.

George, who has worked for the NHS for 43 years, has helped to save hundreds of lives.

The surgeon, a father-of-three with four grandchildren, who lives in Utkinton, told The Pioneer: “I will miss the job first of all. I’m one of these lucky people who enjoy the job they do.

“Every patient is different and that’s what I like about it. I have been so lucky and so privileged to work here. I will miss the staff, who are all my friends.”

George, who will continue with some private work at the Grosvenor Nuffield Hospital in Chester, has represented doctors’ interests through various organisations, and is proud the Countess was recently found to be the second best hospital in England when it comes to survival rates following bowel cancer surgery.

Medical director Dr Virginia Clough said George had played his part in achieving such ‘fantastic’ outcomes.

She said: “The most important thing is that he’s a friend and colleague to just about everybody. We love him.”