Tributes to Stevenage Doctor

9 August 2010, 15:51 | Updated: 9 August 2010, 16:56

The family and fiance of a British doctor Karen Woo who was shot dead along with nine colleagues on an aid mission in Afghanistan have paid tribute to her.

In a statement issued by Herts Police the family of 36-year-old Karen Woo, who came from Stevenage, described her as a "true hero."

He parents former nurse Lynn, 66,  and father Teh Aun, a 67 year old retired TV engineer and  brothers David and Andrew described Dr Woo as someone who led an intensely packed life and of whom they were extremely proud.

They described her motivation for her current trip, her fourth to the country, as purely humanitarian:

"Karen was a Humanist and had no political or religious agenda. She wanted the world to know there was more than a war going on in Afghanistan, that people were not getting their basic needs met. She wanted the ordinary people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children to be able to receive health care. She undertook this trek as a medical doctor, accompanying medical supplies and to provide treatment to people who lived in an extremely remote region and who had little to no healthcare available.

"Her commitment was to make whatever difference she could. She was a true hero and, whilst scared, she never let that prevent her from doing things she felt she had to do. She would not want this tragedy to overshadow the ongoing plight of those still in the greatest of need."

She attended St Nicholas JMI and then The Barclay School in Stevenage. She then went to study at the London Contemporary Dance School for three years before working as a professional dancer with the London Contemporary Dance Company for a further two years. She then decided to pursue a career in medicine and, after completing her A-levels, gained a place at University College London.

"Karen was an inspiration to everyone she met. She combined brains and beauty, intelligence, drive and kookiness in equal measure. She led an intensely packed and rich life: dancer, model, stunt plane walker, doctor and aid worker. Whatever she set her mind to she did with passion. She was the embodiment of seizing the moment. She went through life always believing the best of everyone despite everything she had seen.

"We are so proud of the work she was doing and all that she achieved. She made a difference in people?s lives and for that she will not be forgotten. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends here in the UK, around the world and in Afghanistan. We hope the legacy she leaves is to inspire others to give love and aid rather than perpetuate hate and violence."