Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Mercy Ship mission for Maureen

08:27 05 September 2012

Ilfracombe dentist Maureen Richards at work on board the charity hospital ship Africa Mercy. Pic: Mercy Ships/ Debra Bell.

Ilfracombe dentist Maureen Richards at work on board the charity hospital ship Africa Mercy. Pic: Mercy Ships/ Debra Bell.

©Mercy Ships/photographer Debra Bell

Ilfracombe dentist heads for Guinea to volunteer on board charity hospital ship.

The Africa Mercy. Pic: Mercy Ships/ Debra Bell.The Africa Mercy. Pic: Mercy Ships/ Debra Bell.

AN Ilfracombe dentist has swapped life in the seaside town for life in West Africa after volunteering to help the Mercy Ships charity.

Maureen Richards, of Marlborough Dental Centre, is spending a month in Guinea working in a land based dental unit provided by the Africa Mercy ship, helping to make the lives of some of the world’s poorest people a little better.

The hospital ship is in the country for 10 months and is run by the international charity Mercy Ships.

It is the second time Maureen, 62, has volunteered to help the charity.

“I feel it is important to give something back to society and I can use the gift I have been given,” she said.

“As a dentist I have skills I can use to relieve the suffering of those who would not otherwise be able to access care to relieve their dental pain. Dental abscesses still cause people to die if left untreated.

“It’s extremely satisfying and moving to see a long queue of people waiting for help first thing in the morning and by the end of the day knowing I had helped so many who had so little.

“On the other hand it is very hard to see young children searching through rubbish heaps looking for food and something to sell.

“I had to treat a young woman who had been badly beaten by her husband and had been in pain for several months.

“It is very moving seeing the transformation in patients and the positive change in them after treatment - to see the happiness in their faces where previously there was suffering.”

The Africa Mercy is staffed by up to 400 volunteers from 40 nations who give up their time to help others. Volunteers range from surgeons and nurses, to cooks and engineers.

It was converted from a Danish rail ferry into a state-of-the-art hospital ship, with six operating theatres, X-ray facilities and CT scanner, a pharmacy and a laboratory. There is capacity for 78 in-patients with four wards and a small intensive care unit, as well as accommodation for 450 volunteers.

Maureen says she would encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to simply go for it:

“Although I have a profession to take to serve Mercy Ships, there is scope for anyone to serve whatever their gifts. It’s not just medical staff who can help.”

However, the charity is currently appealing for a range of nurses to volunteer in Guinea during the next 10 months. The ship requires nurses with specialities in adult or paediatric medical-surgical staff and ICU or PICU.

For more information or to make a donation visit www.mercyships.org.uk or call 01438 727800.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Fire fighters will be walking around various fire stations in North Devon for Children's Hospice South West.

The group of fire fighters will be walking from Okehampton fire station to Lynton fire station over 24 hours, in full kit and breathing apparatus.

Read more
08:00
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is bidding for a £1.6million extension. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of the public asked to give their opinions on plans for a £1.8million extension of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:32
Staff at Caen Medical Centre in Braunton celebrate receiving a rating for outstanding

Inspectors full of praise for local GP surgery and how it works with the community

Read more
Yesterday, 13:50
The new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of walking group take a stroll with dignitaries as footpath opens

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Mike Aitken passed away aged 81.

Bideford Bridge Rotary Club members form guard of honour at funeral of staunch supporter Mike Aitken.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
The walkway at Anchorwood Bank.

Anchorwood promenade will open to the public at 1pm following completion of safety checks

Read more
Yesterday, 10:55
North Devon Beer Festival organiser Tim Webster hopes the pints will flow this weekend

Great local ales and fantastic live music on offer at two-day beer fest

Read more
Yesterday, 10:34
The new 309/310 bus.

The new vehicles come as a new contract starts with Filers for the Barnstaple to Lynton service.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00
An uncertain future: The civic centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Remaining county council staff to move into refurbished annex in August but long-term future of tower block is still ‘undecided’

Read more
Thu, 17:14
The Earl of Rone

Parades and drums as villagers out in force this weekend seeking the elusive earl...

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications