Royal award for service
Tuesday, 29th May, 2018
By Craig Brealey
The heroic work of the Flying Doctor service in Africa has been honoured with a royal award in Spain.
A few weeks ago the BDT ran a story about Broken Hill’s ex-RFDS boss Captain Clyde Thomson and his adventures with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) medical teams that often have to fly into war zones and evacuate patients while coming under fire.
This body was established more than 60 years ago and its operations are based on those of Australia’s world famous Royal Flying Doctor Service that was founded by the Reverend John Flynn in 1928.
Now the AMREF has been named the recipient of a Princess of Asturias Award, which is one of the most prestigious prizes in Spain.
The honour was presented for AMREF’s having provided medical assistance to millions of people in Eastern Africa since 1957.
The 50,000-euro ($AU77,000) award is presented each year in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo by the foundation named after Spain’s Crown Princess Leonor.
In a separate honour, an AMREF project officer, Nice Nailatei, was named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2018 for her leading the campaign against female genital mutilation in Africa.
Clyde Thomson first became involved with AMREF in 1984 when its officers visited Broken Hill’s Flying Doctor base.
He developed a business plan for the African service and in 2011 was elected chairman of the AMREF Flying Doctors.
In 2014, after 40 years as the CEO of the Broken Hill base, he retired and moved to Sydney where he still works for the AMREF and visits its home base in Nairobi, Kenya.