THE legacy of a pioneering consultant geriatrician has been honoured with the installation of a plaque at Glan Clwyd Hospital.
The plaque – to commemorate Dr June Arnold – was unveiled outside ward one at the Bodelwyddan site.
Dr Arnold qualified as a doctor in 1948, the year which saw the start of the NHS.
In 1961 she was the first appointed consultant geriatrician in the north Clwyd area, a post she held until her retirement in 1985.
Dr Arnold, who died in 2015, was born in Rhyl and was the eldest of three sisters.
Both her sisters live locally: Bobble Yeomans in Rhuddlan and Audrey Ffoulkes in Tremeirchion.
Mair Dowell, who knew Dr Arnold, said: “She lived in Tremeirchion for many years.
“Tremeirchion is my home village and we attended the same church.
“She will be remembered for her pioneering care for the elderly. Her patients were her focus.
“She was a force to be reckoned with. She did not suffer fools gladly.
“Dr Arnold was appointed consultant geriatrician by the Welsh Hospital Board in 1961 to provide a service for the elderly for the Clwyd and Deeside group of hospitals.
“She had a total of 194 beds for her patients – 45 were in HM Stanley Hospital in St Asaph and 149 at Lluesty Hospital, Holywell.
“Both places which had been workhouses in the past.
“She also started the first respite care system. During her career, as well as serving on numerous medical committees in the UK, she had been chair of Rhyl Music Club, Rhyl Arthritis Club and Rhyl Save the Children.”
Following her retirement, Dr Arnold, who was not married, travelled. She also became chair of the Friends of Bodelwyddan Castle and later a trustee.
She was a welcomer in St Asaph Cathedral and remained interested in archaeology, the history of medicine and her church in Tremeirchion. She was also a talented artist.
Mair added: “Unfortunately she developed arthritis after retiring but she remained positive and continued to live life to the full.
“It took quite a long time for the hospital authorities to decide where the plaque would be placed, due to all the alterations going on in the building.
“They wanted the plaque to be put in the area of medicine in which Dr Arnold specialised in.”