FOR more than 40 years, Keir Leitch had his finger on the pulse. Now he has turned his fascinating life into a book.

Dr Leitch enjoyed an interesting and varied career working as a surgeon, a GP, for the police and even on cruise ships.

His autobiography, A Spoonful of Medicine, traces his life from his early years in the highlands of Scotland.

Proceeds from A Spoonful of Medicine will help boost the funds of Gwent's hospice-at-home service, St David's Foundation. "We have already raised nearly £200 and it has only been out for a fortnight," said Dr Leitch.

His first wife Betty suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died several years ago.

He met Ann, who was a widow, on a cruise. He moved to Caerleon after their marriage.

"I was feeling down after my wife died and my children said, 'Why don't you write a book?' I wrote bits here and bits there and I completed it after I married Ann," said 85-year-old Dr Leitch.

"She has been wonderful and knows a bit more about English because I'm just a doctor."

He does not think there will be a sequel although after he had finished, he kept thinking of other stories he could have included.

After working for a few years in his native Scotland, he moved to England and was in Coventry during the Second World War.

He was employed as a surgeon in a number of hospitals. "We worked hard - it was a vocation - but hard work is the elixir of life," said Dr Leitch, who added he was a fanatic for physical exercise and keeping fit.

He then became a GP in Banbury. "I enjoyed my work as a doctor but my family life suffered and we made sacrifices."

He said one of his favourite parts of the job was delivering babies and he often bumped into people he had brought into the world.

"Going into general practice was exciting but I missed the scientific side - not the romance of being a surgeon but working with my hands and making people better by operating on them. But then I had the privilege and pleasure of making people better by prescribing for them."

Copies of A Spoonful of Medicine, £4.99, can be obtained at Ottakar's in Newport.