SHE was a former Mayor of Winchester, the long-standing practice manager of a busy Hampshire surgery and a charity chairman.

Jean Hammerton has died at home in Bishop's Waltham, aged 90.

Much-loved and respected for her common-sense and humour, she started her life story with: ‘I was born in Hastings, not long after 1066.’

Growing up during the Second World War, Jean left Bournemouth School for Girls to become a student pathologist at Boscombe Hospital just as the NHS was founded. Almost trained, her medical hopes were dashed by a serious bout of tuberculosis.

Jean worked at the old Bishop's Waltham surgery as a receptionist and was involved in the move to larger premises in 1979, becoming practice manager. Ever sympathetic to patients’ needs, she solved problems calmly, promptly and positively.

After leaving the surgery in 1993, Jean was a director of NHS Mid-Hants Primary Care Trust. She served for 17 years as Heartstart’s Chairman and had long-running roles as Chairman of the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau and President of Friends in Retirement.

In Winchester, Jean was well-known for her service to local government. She brought her trademark common-sense to bear on many important district issues as an Independent councillor. She was ‘utterly, utterly amazed’ to be honoured as Mayor of Winchester from 2003 to 2004 and approached the year with her usual unassuming blend of tact, practicality and friendliness.