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Mercy Ships UK: all change at the top

Lord McColl has announced that he will be stepping down as Chairman of Mercy Ships UK after 14 years ...

Lord McColl (right) has announced that he will be stepping down as Chairman of Mercy Ships UK after 14 years.

He will be succeeded by former Deputy Chairman of Mercy Ships UK, Henry Clarke (pictured below), who has been closely involved with the charity for many years.
 
The international charity, which has offices in Stevenage, delivers free healthcare to different low income countries in Africa via its hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. The charity brings hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor by providing free medical care and education.
 
Shortly after volunteering as a surgeon on the ship, in 1997 Lord McColl became a Trustee of Mercy Ships UK, and was later appointed Chairman in 2001.

Educated at Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow, and St Paul’s in London, he pursued a medical career at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Guy’s where he became Professor of Surgery. His late wife, three children and their spouses have all worked in medicine.
 
Lord McColl of Dulwich CBE is a Life Peer and has sat in the House of Lords since 1989. He was given a peerage following his work on behalf of disabled people and the McColl Report was the result of his chairing a Government Enquiry into the supply of artificial limbs and wheelchairs. Following this, he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Prime Minister John Major from 1994-97 for which he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997.
 
Lord McColl visited the hospital ship last month, which is currently docked in Madagascar, to meet many of the patients in need of life-saving surgery.
 
Reflecting on his time as Chairman, Lord McColl said: “This organisation and its mission is one that is dearly close to me and it has been an honour to lead this truly unique charity for the last 14 years.
 
“It was such a privilege to return the ship again last month – every time I visit I am deeply moved by the incredible patients who come to our ship. Throughout my time at Mercy Ships UK I have seen so many lives be transformed and I have no doubt that the charity will continue to bring hope and healing to those most in need.”
 
Judy Polkinhorn, Chief Executive of Mercy Ships UK, said: “Lord McColl has worked tirelessly to support Mercy Ships throughout the years, leading the charity from strength to strength. He is a complete inspiration and will be missed by us all”.
 
Henry Clarke, a founding member of the Mercy Ships UK Board of Trustees, has been closely involved with the charity for many years and has previously held the positions of Company Secretary and Deputy Chairman. He played a key role in the UK during the funding and construction of the charity’s hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.
 
Henry is a Director and Trustee of several private companies and charitable trusts within the UK and internationally. Throughout his career as a chartered surveyor, he has held a number of senior national appointments, including Chief Surveyor for British Rail and Acting Chief Executive for the Crown Estate Commissioners. He has also served on the executive committees of the British Property Federation and Christians in Property and is an alumni of HRH The Prince of Wales' Business In The Community Leadership Programme.
 
In the past, two of Henry's children have served with Mercy Ships, one as an engineer and the other as a galley assistant during a gap year. Three of his five children now work within the health sector in the UK.
 
On his appointment, Henry said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be involved with such an inspiring cause, more especially witnessing the charity's growth over the years in bringing hope and healing to many of the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest countries in Africa.
 
“Mercy Ships has a challenging future ahead as the charity builds capacity to meet the enormity of the task, so it is an extremely exciting time for me to be taking on the role of Chairman.”

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