RETIRED Kidderminster surgeon Dr Pamela Ball has passed away - just months after she received an MBE for her tireless fundraising work for the town's hospital.

Dr Ball is reported to have passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Having first moved to Britain from the West Indies during the Second World War, Dr Ball attended medical school in Durham before moving to Bewdley in the 1950s.

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She began work at the old Kidderminster Hospital in Mill Street in 1954, later transferring to Bewdley Road where she worked as an NHS plastic surgeon.

After retiring in 1997, Dr Ball continued serving the hospital as a member of its League of Friends charity, where she helped to raise money towards new equipment including a walk-in X-ray machine, a high-tech ageing simulation suit and upgraded facilities at the Millbrook Suite.

She was also a prominent Save Kidderminster Hospital campaigner during the fight against the downgrading of services.

Dr Ball remained heavily involved with the Friends despite her battle with bone marrow cancer and was elected president of the group in 2006, a position she continued to hold until very recently when she stepped aside due to ill health.

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Former Wyre Forest MP Dr Richard Taylor, who took over as the charity's president, paid tribute to Dr Ball, describing her as "a pillar of strength to the local community".

He said: "Pamela Ball was an active president of the League of Friends and helped the charity to invest a great deal of money into the hospital.

"She would veto anything she didn't think was right. She was highly efficient and wouldn't tolerate fools, but if she was a friend to you she was a real friend.

"If you didn't know her she could be a bit terrifying. My wife thought so when we first moved to Kidderminster in 1972 but very soon they became very good friends.

"Her husband John was one of the influential GPs and I got to know them both very quickly.

"She was a pillar of strength to the local community, both as a doctor and a skilled surgeon. Everything she did, she did to a tremendously high standard."

Dr Ball was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list this year in recognition of her devoted fundraising for Kidderminster Hospital.

Speaking at a ceremony at Kidderminster Town Hall in August, Dr Ball said: "I have thoroughly my many years in Kidderminster, it has all been lovely and I feel most fortunate that I have been able to do what I have done because of the support I have had from family, friends and staff.

"They have been wonderful and I would like to thank them for their efforts.

"I have been so lucky to have a job I have loved. It's very rewarding."

A mother-of-three, Pamela also had five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.