13 November 2016
This week David Gartry attended two events organised by the St John in Jerusalem Eye Hospital charity. St John is the sole eye charity operating in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, with no distinction in type of patients treated regardless of ethnicity, religion or their ability to pay for treatment. The charity is unique in being able to reach extremely isolated areas that other organisations may not always be able to service.
David visited his first charity event this week at Buckingham Palace. He met the former Lord Mayor of London (Dame Fiona Woolf) and Queen Noor of Jordan. The Duke of Gloucester was hosting the event at Buckingham Palace and gave an inspiring speech about the Order of St John.
The second event David attended this week was the inaugural meeting of The St John in Jerusalem and Moorfields Eye Hospitals Association (the SMA). Moorfields has had a long and historic link with the St John Eye Hospital and numerous Moorfields medical and nursing staff have contributed over the past decades. The new SMA strengthens and cements this link. It was held at The Household Cavalry barracks in Hyde Park and took the form of several talks intended to update guests on the progress St John’s is making with its main Hospital in Jerusalem, its satellite centres in Gaza and Hebron, and its mobile eye clinics.
Sir Nicholas Woolf, who is the chairman of the charity, spoke by way of introduction and was followed by Moorfields Eye Hospital consultants David Verity, Melanie Hingorani and Declan Flanagan (the medical director) as well a Brigadier Tom Ogilvie-Graham, who is the CEO of the St John in Jerusalem Eye Hospitals Group.
Both meetings were truly memorable and it is hoped that the charity will go from strength to strength, continuing to bring much needed eye care to this very troubled part of the world.