DR Heather M Beaumont, a well known local historian, has been remembered in the Dales.

A memorial service was held at St Peter's Church in Hebden last month.

The service reflected the many aspects of her life and was attended by family, ex-school friends and teachers, ex-students from Birmingham University, professional acquaintances, neighbours and friends from all over England.

Heather died in January at the age of 73.

Her childhood was spent in Kings Lynn, where her parents owned a bungalow on the edge of a large farm. Heather spent many hours as a child helping out on the farm, and her love of animals prompted her to do a BSc in Zoology at the University of Nottingham. She was subsequently offered a prestigious place as a PhD Student at the Birmingham Medical School in the Department of Anatomy.

On completion of her PhD in 1961, Heather was appointed lecturer and later senior lecturer in the Department of Anatomy. Her research on the effects of radioactive irradiation on the reproductive system, earned her an international reputation and she was invited to lecture as far afield as Europe, the USA and Hong Kong.

Heather decided to leave academic life in 1977 and took up the post of warden of Parcevall Hall, a Church of England retreat house near Appletreewick. She introduced courses in art appreciation and local history, and her success in reviving the gardens resulted in Parcevall Hall becoming a vibrant part of the wider Dales community.

Heather left Parcevall Hall in 1982 to pursue her interests as author and local historian. She was elected to the Council of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and as founder member of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society, her scientific and scholarly expertise inspired local historians to produce a wide range of publications. She wrote several books on local history herself and was co-author of a book on diseases of the eye.

As a magistrate based in Skipton, she contributed to its training programme. She further qualified as a professional proof reader and acted as freelance proof reader for several international scientific journals.

A serious illness in 2010 caused Heather to move back to Birmingham to enter a nursing home. She was bemused, however, to find her GP, dentist and various hospital consultants were all ex-students of hers – from her earlier Birmingham University days.