A HIGHLY-respected GP has been remembered for the vital campaigning he did for doctors throughout the country.

Retired Bellingham GP Iain Mungall died on December 22 after a battle with cancer.

As well as being a popular doctor at local level, Dr Mungall was also an authority on the problems facing rural GPs nationally.

He established Mungall and Blades surgery in Bellingham with Dr Derek Blades in the 1970s and was also a prime mover in the establishment of Tynedale Accident Service – a network of GPs which provided emergency cover at incidents across the district.

When the Northumberland Primary Care Trust decided to cut funds from the GPs’ budgets in such a way that the rural small practices were hardest hit, Dr Mungall campaigned as a key member of the Friends of Bellingham Surgery group for a fairer deal.

The group was successful in its campaign where it argued that such cuts were not justified and represented clear discrimination against rural communities.

His passion for rural healthcare also saw him publish the journals: ‘Trend towards centralisation of hospital services, and its effect on access to care for rural and remote communities in the UK’, ‘Teamwork in rural practice: Rural and Remote Health’, as well as the book ‘Rural Healthcare’.

Dr Mungall was very much involved in North Tyne life. As an avid sailor he spent many hours on Kielder Water as the founding member of the Kielder Yacht Club.

A statement from Kielder Yacht Club said he was a driving force in the creation of the club who helped develop the club as he continued as president.

“Iain was always friendly, approachable and a force for good in the club and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

In the local community, he was a prominent member of the North Tyne and Redewater Choral Society; charity group the North Tyne and Redewater Twisty Roads Preservation Society; Bellingham and District Dramatic Society and a former chairman of governors at Bellingham Middle School.

He leaves behind his wife Jill, sons Andrew and Alistair, and daughter Sarah.