FORMER civil servant Alan Blair went to Wessex Heartbeat on a three-year contract and ended up staying.

Even when he took the decision to retire, Alan could not totally break the links with the charity and agreed to stay on as development director concentrating on important projects for the foreseeable future.

He has tirelessly campaigned for the charity and he is well known for his determination, dedication and professionalism Since Wessex Heartbeat was launched in 1991, more than £11 million has been raised to improve the quality of care provided to patients and their families from across the south west of England by the dedicated personnel within the regions premier cardiac centre.

Looking back at his time in charge he said: "The best bit has been the people I've met.

"There are no technical skills required to do my job, it's a people job.

"The people I've met have been extraordinary. People I never in a million years could have had contact with. People like the Countess of Wessex, Des Lynam and of course the wonderful people who have been in the cardiac unit themselves, both the staff and the patients.

"I feel lucky that I've played a small part in making their lives easier.

"For the doctors and nurses who work here it must be an extraordinary feeling knowing that they have helped save people's lives and it's good knowing that our team has helped them.

Alan was awarded the MBE in recognition of his hard work and spectacular results for the charity.

Typically, he remained modest about his achievements.

"I sincerely felt that I was accepting the honour on behalf of everyone that helped me create Wessex Heartbeat into the dedicated organisation it is today."

Name: Alan Blair Occupation: Heartbeat charity supremo Local link: Campaigns tirelessly for the support charity for the Wessex Cardiac Unit