17 Jan Ear surgeon Mike Smith awarded OBE
Mike Smith, an ear surgeon who has been connected to INF since the 1980s and spent 17 years in Nepal, has been awarded an OBE in the King’s New Year Honours.
Mike has been instrumental in developing INF’s ear services, including medical camps to reach people living in remote communities and the establishment of the specialist Ear Centre at Green Pastures Hospital which opened in 2015.
He explains: “A couple of weeks before Christmas I had a phone call from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. My first reaction was that either this was a scam or that someone in Nepal had given my name to help get a UK visa!
“A very pleasant lady asked me to check my emails, and to my surprise there was an offer of an OBE in the New Year honours. My immediate thought was that it was pity that my mum had passed away earlier in the year, as she would have loved this and definitely expected a trip to the palace.
“I accepted and they sent me confirmation but said to keep it very confidential until it was published in the papers at New Year. It was hard not to tell Fiona, but I also knew that she would struggle not to tell our daughters Lydia and Abigail when they visited over Christmas. So I kept quiet.
“I am pretty sure it was an old friend that nominated me, and I guess others must have supported it and presumably various background checks did not find any dark past!
“It was lovely to get the news, though I am sure I am not the only one in this position who thinks, not only of those like Fiona who have been alongside through our long connections with INF and Nepal, but also the many who give so much and do not receive any public recognition.
“And of course it is treasures in heaven that we really want to work for.
“None the less it is nice, and I do hope will encourage all of us by giving a little bit of publicity and glitz to the work we try to do for the Kingdom, for Nepal, and for the disadvantaged there.
“I presume that I will get an invitation to go and collect the award some time this year. Fiona is already talking about dresses and hats!”
The citation on Mike’s OBE (which stands for the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) reads: ‘For services to Deaf and Vulnerable People in Nepal’.
We give thanks to God for the service of Mike, Fiona and others who have worked alongside them over the years.