TRIBUTES have been paid to a doctor from Helensburgh and a leading authority on child health, who has died at the age of 81.

Dr Krishna Goel had a long and distinguished career as a consultant and honorary senior lecturer of child health for nearly four decades at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

He had also been a founding director of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), Ronald MacDonald House Charitable Trust, trustee of Yorkhill Sick Children’s Fund and Eredine Christian Trust.

His Helensburgh neighbour, former Argyll and Bute provost Billy Petrie, told the Advertiser: “Krishna was a remarkable man – very well connected, exceptionally clever, very generous and extremely kind.

“Everything he did was for charity. He was a good neighbour and a great personal friend to me.”

And Maria McGill, chief executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – better known as CHAS – added: “As a founding director, Dr Krishna Goel was instrumental in establishing CHAS as the national children’s hospice service in Scotland and he maintained a keen interest in our continuing success.

“Following his retirement, he began writing and, true to his character, he donated proceeds from book sales to CHAS.

“I extend the sympathies of the entire CHAS family to Dr Goel’s family and give our heartfelt thanks for his incredible contributions over the years.”

Dr Goel, who died suddenly on August 12 while on holiday in Oban with his wife Joyce, was held in great respect for his medical work as a consultant physician in paediatrics, specialising in childhood rheumatism, and for his caring and compassionate manner.

His remarkable contribution to Scottish life began in 1969 when he arrived at the former Abbotsinch airport, having travelled from his home in India.

In an interview with the Advertiser last year, Dr Goel revealed he had got all the qualifications in paediatrics which he could get in India, and couldn’t do anything more.

After being impressed by a book written by a professional from Yorkhill, he wrote to the hospital in the hope of securing a job, and was sent an appointment letter – even though he had no CV or references.

He said: “When I arrived at the old Abbotsinch airport, they’d sent a car. For me!

“They even gave me cash the following day, deducted from my salary, because I’d arrived in Scotland with nothing – I travelled to the UK with £3 in my pocket, and that was all spent on my accommodation in London.

“What a reception I received. I thought it was paradise.

“It was hard work at Yorkhill, but I enjoyed it – it was like a family to me.

“A child would come to me all peely-wally and I loved the first smile he would give me after I treated him. You can’t buy that.”

On his retirement, Krishna took an IT course at Clydebank College, to equip himself with self-publishing skills, and he went on to write three books which reflected his interest in botany and zoology and his great love for Scotland.

This week, his widow Joyce told the Advertiser that apart from his contribution to child health in Scotland, her husband would be remembered for his caring and compassionate nature.

She said: “He was well known as someone who listened to people.

"He would sit down and talk to them if they had problems and he never lost his interest in people.”

Krishna grew up in the city of Agra, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where he played as a small boy in the Taj Mahal in the city.

Joyce recalled with amusement that on a return visit to the famous mausoleum later in his life, Krishna was furious to discover that he would have to pay an entrance fee, and refused to go in.

A service of thanksgiving at Cardross Parish Church on August 27 was attended by many friends, including medical professors who had worked with Dr Goel, and several of his former registrars whom he had taught.

The couple had no children, but Krishna had an extended family in India.