SHE was a distinguished botanist who travelled the world to carry out detailed plant studies.

But after returning to her native Hexham in retirement, Dr Anne Pickering became a passionate campaigner for local issues.

Tributes have been paid to the 77-year-old, who died suddenly at home earlier this month.

Anne’s family said they were amazed at the turn-out of well wishers at a special burial service, which was led by Father Christopher Warren, at St Andrew’s Cemetery in Hexham.

“Anne’s death was a huge shock to us all,” said her sister Elizabeth. “We took a lot of comfort from those who attended the service and are grateful to everyone who came along.”

Elizabeth keen to stress that, although sudden, her sister’s death was not connected to coronavirus, or a cancer scare two years ago, from which she made a full recovery.

In more recent years, Anne was best known for her support of Hexham’s former bus station, and leading a campaign to stop the station from being moved.

The campaign was not successful, and a new bus station opened at Loosing Hill in 2016, but Anne succeeded in gathering a 10,000-name petition against the scheme and gained much support.

Anne was born the first of six children, to local vet John Peter Pickering, and Elsie May Pickering, of Hexham.

She was educated at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Hexham, and at secondary level at St Margaret’s Convent in Edinburgh.

After completing her education at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, she studied botany at Manchester University, gaining a BSc.

She worked for the Distillers Company in Scotland, and then for Newcastle University, while also gaining a PhD in botany.

A lover of plants, Anne carried out freelance work on plant surveys for various bodies, and in different countries.

An accomplished artist, Anne gained a BA in the subject. She also learned to shoot and ride a motorbike. Anne married Said Rashid Mohammed in June 2001, and together they brought up Said’s son Dullah, whom Anne adopted.

Elizabeth added: “I will greatly miss my sister. She was very talented, very curious, and always exploring new ideas and hobbies, living life to the full.”