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RCSEd Gives Award for ‘Outstanding’ Humanitarian Work

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16 Mar 2012


The extensive humanitarian work of one of Scotland's leading business figures will be recognised today by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Ann Gloag, co-founder of transport company Stagecoach, will visit the 500-year-old institution to be made a 'Companion of the College' - one of the organisation's most prestigious awards.

Ann Gloag OBE, said, "I feel very honoured to receive this award and am privileged that the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh considered me a worthy recipient.

"As a former theatre nurse, I know firsthand the remarkable, life changing work carried out by surgeons every day, both in the UK and abroad.

"We are extremely fortunate to have wonderful surgeons involved in our Freedom From Fistula Foundation projects in Africa and I have also had the great pleasure of getting to know many more surgeons through my support for Mercy Ships.  Their work each day is inspiring.

"I am delighted to become a Companion of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and thank everyone involved for bestowing such an honour."

Ann Gloag co-founded Stagecoach in 1980 and, along with her brother Brian Souter, grew the company into one of the UK's largest transport groups. Ann became a non-executive director in 2000 and remains on the board of the bus and rail business that has 2.5 million passengers each day in the UK and North America.

But it is her humanitarian work in Africa that has brought Ann Gloag recognition today from one of the most respected medical Colleges in the world.

In 2008, Ann established the Freedom from Fistula Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping women who are injured and left incontinent following childbirth. The charity now has permanent projects in Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi and also helps fund partner projects in Kenya, Liberia, Zambia and Ethiopia.  In 2010, Ann opened a maternity unit in Sierra Leone as part of the Aberdeen Women's Centre in Freetown, providing a holistic approach to the care of women and children.

Ann also serves on the international and UK boards of Mercy Ships - a hospital ship providing medical and humanitarian aid in West Africa. In 1999, she provided the charity with a former Danish rail ferry and spearheaded its conversion into the world's largest charity hospital ship - the Africa Mercy.

Mr David Tolley, President of the RCSEd, said: "The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is delighted to welcome Ms Ann Gloag as a Companion of the College.

"This award has been made in recognition of her past support and encouragement for women surgeons through the RCSEd's Gloag Scholarships but primarily for her significant and lasting contribution to the relief of suffering in Africa.

"In particular, Ms Gloag's Freedom from Fistula Foundation, which provides vital healthcare for child-bearing women in Africa and offers treatment for the chronic problem of obstetric fistula following childbirth, resonates with the RCSEd's own fundraising activities and charitable work in the continent.

"I take great pleasure in presenting today's award to mark Ms Gloag's outstanding humanitarian work."

Companionship of the College was established in 2005 to mark the RCSEd's 500th anniversary, with the first companionship going to Prince Philip. It is one of the College's most prestigious awards and only a small number of individuals have received it - past recipients include Sir Tom Farmer.

At today's ceremony, Ms Gloag will join surgeons and dental surgeons from countries around the world who will collect Fellowship and Membership diplomas in recognition of passing rigorous surgical and dental examinations.

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