THE pretty village church of St Mary's at Kempsey, near Worcester, was packed for a memorial service in honour of popular GP David Cairns, who died in February aged 70 following a heart attack. Both his father and grandfather were doctors, so it was no surprise when he followed in their footsteps, even, like them, by qualifying as a doctor at Queen's University, Belfast

Dr Cairns arrived in Worcester in 1973 and first worked at Ronkswood Hospital as an anaesthetist before moving into general practice with the Duncan/Burton practice, which operated in some very old premises just off the High Street near Worcester Cathedral. He quickly became very popular with his patients and transformed the practice in many ways. Dr Cairns qualified as a doctors’ trainer so the practice could take on trainees who might become partners in the future. He also decided to look for improved premises and successfully organised and arranged the financing of Haresfield House, a magnificent Georgian building at the bottom of Bath Road. He also embraced, and successfully introduced, fundholding which had been controversially brought in by the Government of the day. He made it work for the practice, which enabled it to give a better service of care to its patients.

Dr Rod Mackichan, who was one of his trainees and is currently the practice's senior partner, said: "One of David’s great qualities was his understanding of people and he had the unique ability to judge what the patient required. Under David’s leadership, the practice was always at the forefront of any changes brought in by the NHS and because of his unique style it was a happy place to work, which reflected in the high standard of care within the practice."

Dr Cairns was a keen supporter of Worcester Warriors rugby and a a very enthusiastic golfer, playing for many years at Boughton Park, Worcester and over the last six years at Blackwell Golf Club, Bromsgrove. His friend, Worcester businessman Cecil Duckworth added: "He was a great family man and will also be remembered as a great raconteur, his wonderful ability to tell amusing anecdotal stories, his wisdom, his caring nature, and his boundless enthusiasm for life and fun."

Dr Cairns is survived by his wife Lindy, his son Edward, who runs the MWZ Recruitment Agency and his daughter, Catherine who is a physiotherapist.