By EMMA CORNFORD
AFTER a bitterly cold London winter and six months without sunshine, Doctor Paul Dance and his Australian wife Karen decided it was time to migrate south.
Cue forward eight months, and Dr Dance is the newest general practitioner at the Queen Street Clinic in Grafton.
Dr Dance met his wife, whose mother lives at Coffs Harbour, while she was working as a nursing sister at a London Hospital.
"We fell in love during the ward rounds," he said.
"I came home one day and said 'shall we go', and she said yes straight away because she had been there for 10 years and was ready to come home. I gave my six months notice ... and we moved."
After searching for employment on the North Coast, they settled on Grafton.
"This place is the best town with best countryside and the best surgery. The patients are really lucky," Dr Dance said.
"I'd had enough of the NHS (National Health System) in the UK in its present form and we'd often have to run five-minute appointments just to keep up.
"That's hardly enough time to even say 'hello', but here is so much better."
Although he, his wife and their two-year-old son Ollie have not yet begun to explore the area, Dr Dance said they were looking forward to finding out more about Grafton and the Clarence Valley.
"Ollie loves the sun, the garden, the beach and he really loves the kookaburras," Dr Dance said.
"We're all outdoor people, really, so moving here has been great."
Dr Dance, originally from Essex, was trained at the University College Hospital in London and spent eight years as a partner in a general practice.
His specialist areas include diabetes, paediatrics and psychiatry.