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Happiness is a life-changing career move

Former surgeon Paul Whitlock successfully switched jobs after a deadly infection struck him at 50.

FOR more than a quarter of a century Paul Whitlock devoted his career to saving lives.

From a UCL-trained junior doctor to a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, he estimates he’s helped thousands of patients to recovery during his successful NHS career.

But the medic chose to reassess his profession after suffering his own serious medical scare after contracting potentially-lethal sepsis on his 50th birthday.

“Working as a cardiothoracic surgeon for the NHS was both an honour and a privilege, people’s lives in your hands is the ultimate responsibility,” explains Mr Whitlock, who was the last person trained in the UK to perform both heart and lung surgery.

“However, having spent 25 years working nights and weekends, and frequently being away from home, it was time to focus on my own health and take back control of my life.”

During his medical career, Mr Whitlock carried out his surgical training in London and Belfast and worked as a consultant surgeon in Yorkshire and Oxford, equipping him with the knowledge and skills to manage incredibly difficult situations.

His work took him all over the world. On 11 September 2001 he was part of a team carrying out pioneering gene therapy research at Cornell University, New York, when the attack on the World Trade Centre took place.

He volunteered at St Vincent’s Hospital in Lower Manhattan, the closest trauma centre to Ground Zero, before taking an eerie walk home through a deserted Times Square.

Four years later, he was working at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London during the 7/7 bombings, mid-surgery, he and colleagues finished the case before volunteering to help the wounded.

But despite his dedication to medicine, his dream of becoming a developer grew as he reassessed his life while recovering from the infection that nearly killed him.

He says: “When I was 50 and very ill, I thought, ‘it’s now or never.’ I felt this was my last reasonable opportunity to launch my own property development company.”

Property development runs in Mr Whitlock’s family. His grandfather was a builder and his father an engineer who rebuilt the family home. Mr Whitlock had previously rebuilt his own family home, restoring a Grade II-listed house, in Islington, which had been split into four flats and left to fall into disrepair. He has also rebuilt properties in east London and Essex.

For his latest projects, Mr Whitlock’s is developing three sites in High Kelling, Holt, by the north Norfolk coast. The build phase of the projects have been financed with a commercial bridging loan of nearly £1million from Together.

Steve Luty, our corporate development director at Together, says: “Mr Whitlock knows the Norfolk coast well, having built several of his holiday lets there, and has spent a lot of time researching the local property market. Once complete, all the properties he’s currently developing will be worth between £700,000 and £1m each.”

Mr Whitlock says: “Holt is an idyllic Georgian town with great facilities. Having been ‘hands off’ with previous projects, I spent last year learning on the job, seeing and understanding what was happening, so I’ve done my apprenticeship. This year I’ll concentrate on running the business, finding the sites, and organising the finance.

“The plan is to sell the Holt properties when they’re complete, I also have the option of adding them to my existing holiday home portfolio. The property market is quiet now, things will recover after Brexit – people are wary of big decisions now.”

Mr Whitlock was introduced to us by his broker at Large Mortgage Loans, and had a meeting in London with a representative from the brokerage and Steve Luty.

He says: “Steve was great to work with, he understood our plans and our requirements instantly.

“While I have overseen the renovation and new build of over a dozen properties, unlike some property developers I don’t have years of experience as a builder. Together were able to step up and look at good projects on their merits and are far more agile than high street lenders.”

A delighted Mr Whitlock adds: “Working with Steve and the team has been very enjoyable, Together are very straightforward to use.”

Snowdrops and The Hallows are available through Bedford’s Burnham Market office.

12th March 2019

Two men stood apart smiling with a two story house in the background.