PETER Belcher’s favourite toy as a child was an Action Man who he turned into a medic.

He created stretchers and first aid kits from anything he could lay his hands on, usually bits of gauze, cotton wool and tape from his mother’s nursing bag.

And he used to look after his little sister Sarah when their mother was at work, rubbing her back for hours to get her off to sleep when her asthma was bad.

Peter’s passion for all things medical developed as he grew up and he went on to study nursing.

He eventually became the theatre co-ordinator at the Royal Alexandra’s Children’s Hospital in Brighton, where he was highly respected by all who worked with him.

He died in October aged 61.

Peter’s mother Joan was a nurse and he had two older brothers, Vic and David, and an older sister Linda as well as Sarah.

His loving, caring nature was evident from an early age.

Born in October 14, 1957, Peter was an extremely quiet, academic boy who enjoyed his own company, listening to music and wandering around the lanes of Brighton.

He went to Patcham Boys School and Whitehawk senior school where he was head boy.He did not attend college, to his great regret.

Before his final exams, he joined the Army as a combat medic and trained in Ash Vale. He was stationed in Germany and Northern Ireland and later took up a position at the medical centre at Sennybridge Training Camp in South Wales.

Even in the Army, Peter kept to himself and picked up many skills such as embroidery and cooking and went to see bands rather than having nights in the pubs with fellow soldiers.

It was here he met his wife Sue who was on holiday with her brother Richard.

Sue was working in administration duties for the Ministry of Defence at the time.

It was love at first sight. They met in March 1978, got engaged in June on Midsummers Eve and were married in the October, just seven months from meeting.

They had two daughters, Sally Fae in 1981 and Mo in 1984.

The couple lived in Sennybridge for a while but Peter was keen to leave the Army.

He bought himself out and he and Sue came to live in Brighton.

He was a nurse auxiliary for a while until he passed exams which enabled him to study at the Brighton School of Nursing.

He qualified in 1983, receiving the top student award for his set.

Peter worked for two years as a staff nurse in the Royal Sussex County Hospital theatres, then, after completing his paediatric training, he moved to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital from October 1985 to October 2001.

Peter then worked for nine years at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London as deputy manager of the paediatric theatre alongside Chris, his friend and colleague from the Royal Alexandra.

When she retired, he took over as theatre manager.

He was an innovator in pre-operative care for children and their families, including the set up of a new paediatric operating theatre in one of the London hospitals.

He was always striving to improve patient care.

In 2010, Peter returned to the Royal Alexandra and continued to work as a theatre co-ordinator until his retirement on ill health grounds in July last year.

Peter enjoyed long walks and helping charities.

In May 2014, heand friends known collectively as Jude’s Gems took on the challenge to walk 100km from Richmond Park to Brighton in honour of a colleague who worked at the Royal Alexandra.

Thousands of pounds were raised for the Martlets hospice in Hove which cared for her.

In October, Peter and his friends, the Strokes Blokes walked miles along the coast in atrocious weather to raise funds for the Martlets.

Four years ago, he took on another 100km walk with friends to raise money for several charities, including Mind and the Rockinghorse appeal.

Family and friends described Peter as a kind and gentle person who his whole life to helping others.

Medical students who were mentored by him would say he was a truly inspirational man whose teaching sessions were “legendary” with his knowledge being second to none.

He was also remembered as a man who had great general knowledge across all fields.

He was nicknamed‘The Encyclopaedia.

He enjoyed music, including Pink Floyd and Genesis.

Peter also enjoyed mountain bike rides on the South Downs, red wine, vegetarian food, bird-watching and Buddhism.

Peter died from small cell prostate on October 31.

Initially doctors thought he just had prostate cancer but the disease spread rapidly.

He was buried in Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground in Hassocks.