MORE than 200 people are expected to attend a memorial service today for a leading North-East doctor.

Professor Roger Freeman, 59, a microbiologist with an international reputation, died suddenly at work in June.

He was regional microbiologist with the Health Protection Agency in the North-East at the time of his death.

Previously, Prof Freeman had worked at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, Newcastle University and for the Public Health Laboratory Service.

His career in microbiology spanned more than 30 years, during which time he published more than 200 papers, contributed to several text books and presented at national and international conferences.

In addition, Prof Freeman was also an examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists, a specialist adviser to the chief medical officer (1993-1996), a reader in bacteriology at the University of Newcastle (1988-1994), where he also held an honorary chair in microbiology, and a member of the Government's Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens.

Dr Vivien Hollyoak, director of the Health Protection Agency North-East, said: "Roger Freeman was a man of exceptional ability and is a great loss to the medical world.

"He led the development of a high quality microbiology service in the North-East and was an endless source of expert advice and guidance to many.

"More than that, he was a man of great humour and a valued friend, who is sadly missed by everyone who knew him."

The memorial service will take place at St Thomas' Church, Newcastle.