Tributes to town character “Dr Pats”

Dr Peter Swoboda
Dr Peter Swoboda
  • Dr Swoboda or “Dr Pats” was treated in several wards and died in Warwick Hospital in April
  • A funeral service will be held at Cannon Park on May 15
  • The service starts at 1pm to be followed by a burial where he will be laid to rest in a plot alongside his brother
  • His sister-in-law, Uthaya Swoboda thanked everybody for visiting the hospital and for kind messages since his death

One of Kenilworth’s most famous characters has died as the age of 85 after being admitted to hospital with illness late last year.

Peter Swoboda- better known as Dr Pats- was a well known face around the town and heavily involved with countless community projects.

Dr Peter Swoboda. Picture by Cyril Hobbins

Dr Peter Swoboda. Picture by Cyril Hobbins

The octogenarian died “very peacefully” in Warwick Hospital earlier in April. Messages of support and sadness have since come in all areas of the community from friends who are invited to celebrate his life later this month.

Dr Pats moved to Kenilworth from Cambridge in 2006 to be closer to his only brother, Bennet, two nephews and sister-in-law.

He moved into sheltered housing in Southbank Road and spent the next nine years devoting himself to the town and its people, becoming involved with groups including the community forum, Civic Society, Waverley Day Centre and a town website.

Most famously, he set himself up as a champion of public transport, chasing up and advertising bus diversion routes, and even sitting at stops to warn of unpublicised changes.

His work was world renowned but he was so humble. People was what he loved most

Uthaya Swoboda

But despite being a recognised face in Kenilworth, few knew known about his past and achievements.

When Peter was just eight-years-old, his family fled from Prague to protect his Jewish mother amid growing persecution in the run up to the Second world War.

His parents were both doctors, and his father continued to practise in London once they finally settled in England.

Dr Pats went on to study for a doctorate in chemistry at University College London, before working as a senior research scientist in food and agriculture where he wrote many renowned articles.

He described himself as “a bohemian by birth and by inclination” and put the kindness shown when his family arrived in the UK with nothing as a driving force behind his interest in with people and places wherever he lived.

His sister-in-law Uthaya said news of is death had hit her and her grown-up sons Peter and John-Paul very hard.

“He was such a lovely man and would do anything for anyone,” she said. “He was very well established in his field. His work was world renowned but he was so humble. People was what he loved most.

“Peter and hid brother were from a very clever family of doctors, but he was not materialistic in any way, he lived a very humble life.

“We would really like people to come to the funeral, he would have loved that, he really was a people person.”

Last weekend, his nephew, Peter ran the Prague marathon in honour of both his uncle and father.