A HISTORY-loving former GP who uncovered the lost tomb of a former Prime Minister in a Stanmore church has died aged 93.
Dr Frederick Hicks had a surgery in Honeypot Lane, Stanmore, for many years and was a church warden at St John The Evangelist Church in Rectory Lane, Stanmore.
The cricket-lover had a particular interest in the 1632 brick church ruins that stand in the grounds of the present 1850 church, and was a member of Stanmore and Harrow Historical Society.
The great-grandfather died on November 22 and at the time was living at Hill House Care Centre in Elstree, Hertfordshire. He used to live in Elm Close, Stanmore, with wife Marie, who is at Birchwood Grange Care Home in Preston Hill, Kenton.
Mick Oliver, who joined Dr Hicks as a church warden in 1987, said: “The 1965 church guide gives the location of the tomb of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen (Peelite Prime Minister from 1852 until 1855) in the wrong location.
“Freddie and the stonemason were doing some restoration work removing the ivy and found the ivy had penetrated the building and the vault, and so they took off the front of the vault and found Aberdeen’s tomb.
“Freddie took the back off the coffin and it showed he got both the Order of the Thistle and the Order of the Garter, which was definitive evidence that he was a Scottish peer.”
Mr Oliver said: “Even as a 90-year-old Freddie was still very active. His period of ill health was very short.”
Dr Hicks was born in Australia in 1920 and the family moved to the UK when he was 10.
He met Marie in 1941 while she was a nurse in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and they married in 1945.
The couple lived in Paddington, Kenton and settled in Stanmore before in 1965 he set up his own practice, retiring in 1989.
Son Alan Hicks said: “My father was well regarded as a conscientious and caring doctor.”
In 1978, the Hicks set off on a round-the-world trip by road back to Australia that had been a decade in the making.
Alan said: “To achieve this dream of revisiting the country of his birth, Freddie bought a Ford Transit motorcaravan and went to mechanics classes to learn how to service it.
“As well as reading up about overland trip and planning the route and places to visit.
“He arranged a year’s sabbatical from the practice and found locum doctors to cover his absence.
“They covered some 30,000 miles in some 300 days - and had one puncture.
“They certainly saw some sights, and went to places we would fear to tread now such as Afghanistan and Iran.”