WE would like to pay tribute today to Dr Peter Rawcliffe.

At a time when many of us are valuing our National Health Service more than ever, we could easily fill an entire column celebrating his work as a doctor.

We know that hundreds of his patients will remember him extremely fondly as a wise, pragmatic and caring clinician who had his patients’ interests at heart.

But Dr Rawcliffe was also one of those extraordinary people, who the rest of us can only hope to emulate in life, in that, after he retired, he seemed to become more hard-working than ever.

As a founder member of the Oxford Flood Alliance, he spent the years when he could have been resting and relaxing tirelessly campaigning for better treatment for the people of his city.

He met ministers, Prime Ministers, top brass at institutions like the Environment Agency – and he didn’t just meet them either: he helped to shape policy, including the £150 million (or whatever the latest price tag is) Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

With Dr Rawcliffe, this monumental plan of civil engineering might never even have been drawn up.

Having spent his entire career looking after the health and wellbeing of the people of Oxford, he then spent his golden years doing the exact same thing.

And what's more, he was never grandstanding.

As those of us who were lucky enough to know him and work with him remember, he was always the most friendly, approachable and down-to-earth man.

And for journalists at the Oxford Mail especially, we knew that if we phoned him up he would always speak to us if he could: he not only wanted to fight to stop the blight of flooding in Oxford, he always wanted people to know what was happening in that fight as well.

Peter Rawcliffe was a people's champion and we were lucky to have him.

We thank him for everything he did for our city, and we will miss his company.