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

Born in Rotherhithe, South London, to Ellen and William Deeks, Dorothy, better known as Mollie, was one of five children, and was a twin to her sister Mary.

After attending the school in the area she served her National Service in the army before moving down to Bournemouth with her parents, where she then worked for a time at the Winter Gardens.

"When Mollie was in her late twenties she decided to retrain as a nurse, first to become a SRN, State Registered Nurse, at Southampton University and then continuing training as a midwife in Kingston-upon-Thames," said her son David Harwood.

"She threw herself into a nursing career for the next two years, in hospitals and as nursing sister on two cruise liners, HMS Andes and HMS Arlanza. She also worked as a nurse for Max Factor."

Mollie continued with training in occupational health in 1965 and afterwards worked as a nursing sister for Hamworthy Engineering in Poole and then for the gas board for the next few years.

From 1969 until 1974 she worked as a Community Nursing Sister for the Poole Local Authority before setting up the Occupational Health Service at Boscombe's Royal Victoria Hospital with the East Dorset Health Authority, remaining in this role until her retirement ten years later.

Mollie became a champion of nurses and was known to the health workers in the area through her work with 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.

Mollie was also the RCN council member for the South West region in the 1980s and 90s where her role was a RCN conveyor but she also represented colleagues involved in disciplinary cases and nursing grievances.

She received an MBE in 1988 for her contribution 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 Roberts, Regional Communications Manager of the South West Region for the Royal College of Nursing.

Mollie retired from Boscombe Hospital in 1992 but continued working in a nursing capacity for various organisations until she properly retired in 2011. Her motto was 'once a nurse, always a nurse'.

"She will be remembered for her 50 years and beyond dedication to nursing and will be very much missed by all who knew her," said David.

Mollie passed away on August 11 and her funeral was held at Poole Cemetery on August 23. She is survived by her son David, a pharmacist who lives locally.