Family leads tributes to GP who cared for patients across Sunderland and South Tyneside

Tributes have been paid to a doctor who swapped life on the wards for caring for patients out in the community.

Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri, of Alexandra Mews in Ashbrooke, in died peacefully in St Benedict’s Hospice aged 77.

Born in Itagi, India, to mother Gangadevi and his father Gudleppa, who was known as the Ironman of Karnataka, a freedom fighter who battled for Indian independence alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru.

He studied at Karnataka Medical College in Hubli and moved to the UK in July 1970, living in Oxfordshire and then Glasgow before beginning work at South Tyneside District Hospital, as well as a time at hospitals in Shotley Bridge and York.

Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri spent years serving patients in Sunderland as a GP.

He then started to work at Sunderland Royal Hospital, taking on a rile as a senior registrar in acute medicine, also meeting his wife Pauline, who was working as a nurse.

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They married at Whitburn Parish Church in March 1975 and moved into a flat in Chester Road before moving to Cleadon, welcoming their son Richard into the world in 1976 and daughter Natasha in 1980.

They went on to live in Ettrick Grove when Dr Hallikeri moved into general practice, working in Hendon, the Craiglands and Springwell, then the New City Medical Centre in Tatham Street when that surgery was launched in 1992.

Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri and wife Pauline with their grandchildren Blake and Sofia.

He was proud of his children, with Richard working as a renewable energy company director, now based in Abu Dhabi, while Natasha has worked in Hollywood as a special effects make-up artist on film and television projects and now lives back in Sunderland.

He loved being a grandfather to Sofia, 10, and Blake, nine, and also leaves Richard’s wife Louise, 45, as well as brothers Chittu and Deenu and sister-in-law Nirmala.

He was a member of Whitburn Golf Club and enjoyed life as a dog owner, remaining “best of friends” with Pauline following their divorce, continuing to look after each other.

Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri with his wife and their children, Richard and Natasha.

In a tribute from his children, they said: “Dad was loved by everyone he met, always making time to talk and ask about their family – he always remembered names.

"As a very prominent Sunderland GP, he is still missed even nearly 15 years after retirement.”

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Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri pictured in his younger days.

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Dr Sangramsinha Gudleppa Hallikeri and wife Pauline remained close after their divorce and were the best of friends.