FORMER Bournemouth GP, Dr Joseph Michael 'Joe' Beck, has died at the age of 78.

Better known as Joe or Jomi to his family and close friends, he was a highly respected and much loved Bournemouth GP who practised in Southbourne for 36 years.

"Joe was the son of a practising doctor in Czechoslovakia, who with his wife and an eight month old Joe and seven year old Felix fled the tyranny of Hitler's extermination of those who he deemed as imperfect. After a long journey across Europe the Beck family ended up in Britain. Although a qualified doctor, Dr Beck senior had to requalify in medicine at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff. He then became a GP in Merthyr Tydfil, where the young Joseph grew up. Joe was proud of his heritage which included his love of Welsh rugby," said Dr Chris Williams, a friend and colleague.

After leaving the primary school in Merthyr he became a boarder at Bromsgrove School and afterwards went to Birmingham Medical School, qualifying in 1962. At medical school he met his wife Sue, a medical laboratory technician and they married in 1961.

As a junior doctor, he worked in various hospitals in the Midlands, eventually coming to Bournemouth to become a house officer in obstetrics and gynaecology.

While in Bournemouth he pursued his life-long love of golf and joined Broadstone Golf Club in 1966 becoming captain eight years later and president of the club from 2012 until 2015.

Dr Beck was the first trainee GP in the country, spending a year attached to a medical practice under Dr James Fisher, learning the necessary skills. It was an innovative and experimental way of training future GP's and now is an established way of training GP's. Dr Beck later became a much sought after trainer himself.

He then joined Dr Tim Morgan and Dr Brian Wood, and later Dr Jack Sorapure in a partnership in Southbourne based at Church Road and Beresford Road. The practice grew and further partners were taken on, as well as part time doctors. In 1985 the practice amalgamated into one premises becoming Beaufort Road Surgery in Southbourne and Dr Beck became senior partner in 1991. He retired in 2001.

In addition to his general practice he also worked in the Genito department of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, doing urinary medicine and for the Dorset Healthcare Trust, providing the medical input to the learning disability residential units in Bournemouth and Christchurch.

"Joe was an excellent GP, hardworking, methodical and a great diagnostician, but more than that he was a very caring, empathic and compassionate doctor, much loved by his patients," said Dr Williams.

Dr Beck died on May 18 and his funeral was held Poole Crematorium on June 8. He is survived by Sue, and his daughters Jacqui and Nicky.