CHAMPION of nurses, Dorothy 'Mollie' Harwood, MBE has passed away at the age of 90.

Mollie began nursing in 1955 and started work as a Community Nursing Sister for Poole Local Authority from 1969 until 1974.

She set up the Occupational Health Service at Boscombe's Royal Victoria Hospital with the East Dorset Health Authority, and was appointed Senior Nurse Manager in 1982, remaining in this role until her retirement ten years later.

"Mollie was a very active member of the Royal College of Nursing and was a RCN steward at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for many years. She led a campaign for fair pay for nurses in 1981 which she took as far as Downing Street," said Tracey Roberts, Regional Communications Manager of the South West Region for the Royal College of Nursing.

She was also the RCN council member for the South West region in the 1980s and 90s.

Mollie received an MBE in 1988 for her contributions to nursing and an RCN Award of Merit in 1996.

"In 1979 she won the Dettol Nurse of the Year Award and received the prize from Professor Christian Barnard. Typically of Mollie she purchased equipment for her department with her prize money," said Tracey.

After leaving Boscombe Hospital in 1992 she took up part-time work for a while at a Bournemouth doctors' surgery and continued as the only local union member authorised to speak to the press on day-to-day matters. Her motto was 'once a nurse, always a nurse'.

A funeral service will take place for Mollie on August 23 at 1.30pm St George's Church, Oakdale, Poole, followed by an internment at Poole Cemetery. Her family have invited anyone who knew her to attend to celebrate her life.