Roger Jenkins is a Consultant Community Paediatrician, currently based at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. For many years, Roger covered developmental paediatric clinics on the Isles of Scilly, undertaking clinics in the main school in St Mary’s, and on the off islands. During this time, he channelled an interest in photography into documenting many of his visits and journeys across to the five islands.
“As a consultant, I spent more than five years travelling across to the Isles of Scilly,”
Roger explains. “Originally, it was just to photograph the plants, or capturing scenes of local beauty, where the sun always seemed to be shining. With time, I collected nearly 100 images showing my flights, walks, and sails between Newquay and St Mary’s, and across the islands. The photos became a kind of visual record of my experiences, capturing stories or memories that were significant to the day.”
“The image below is one of my favourites,” Roger continues. “This was taken during my walk back to St Agnes Harbour to get my lift back to St Mary’s. The view from here shows the five islands of St Mary’s, St Martin’s, Tresco, Bryher, and Samson.”
“It was a memorable day from a few years ago,”
Roger continues, “not least because of the beautiful weather and the bucolic surroundings, but the relaxed clinical review of the child in school, the unhurried conversation with mum afterwards sitting on the grass in the field next to the community centre, and waving dad down on his tractor to bring him into the conversation too.”
“It was on this day that I remember being accosted while getting off the medical launch in St Mary’s by a group of persistently interested pensioners on a Scillonian III day trip. They wanted to know what emergency I had been attending, and had the patient survived. I didn’t have the heart to tell them the truth. Ultimately I think they were disappointed I wasn’t Doc Martin!”
Roger took semi-retirement last year and now largely conducts his consultations online, via Microsoft Teams. But the archive of photographs that he has built up during his years travelling to the Isles of Scilly is a reminder of the time, and provides a rare insight into a role that best embodies how unique working in places like Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can be.
“Like journeys, every picture tells a story,” Roger concludes,
“and this is true for many of the photos I’ve taken during the course of my career. On one hand, the images show off the natural beauty and ruggedness of the local scenery, but they also provide a snapshot of a particular time and place, bringing to mind fond memories of visiting all the wonderful families and dedicated professionals I met over the years.”