A leisure complex in north Northumberland is organising more events to support a medical initiative which has won a top award.
In 2007, friends and members of Dene House Farm in Longframlington organised a Charity Ball to raise the initial funds to help set up the tele-mentoring link between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.
Last month, the pioneering scheme, which has enabled consultant surgeon Liam Horgan and his team to teach keyhole surgical techniques to their KCMC colleagues 5,000 miles away, won the prestigious British Medical Journal award for surgical team of the year. More than 500 procedures have been completed between 2005 and 2013 through the initiative.
Mr Horgan said: “Setting up a tele-mentoring link was a real triumph for the whole team; we had to overcome a series of obstacles associated with infrastructure and technology in Tanzania, and therefore we are delighted that our hard work has been recognised with this national award.
“The link has been revolutionary – to be able to train surgeons remotely rather than face-to-face once a year has had a crucial impact and enabled us to share our expertise and help Dr Kondo and his team at KCMC to improve the experiences of so many more patients.
“To me this is an example of teamwork and a strong relationship that straddles two continents making our world smaller and hopefully safer and better for patients.”
Dr Chilonga Kondo, head of surgery at KCMC, who visited in the UK for the awards, said: “We are very proud of the link because it has transformed surgical services in the country and it is seen as an icon for the whole of Tanzania. We are delighted that we have won this award.”
Brenda Longstaff, international programmes manager at the Trust, said: “The project has been a triumph of international collaboration and has been inspired by the commitment of two surgeons who operate in very different financial circumstances.”
In light of this success, Dene House Farm is holding further fund-raising events this month.
A 24-hour sponsored spin-a-thon is taking place, while on Saturday, June 28, it is hosting a charity rounders tournament, auction and country and western hoedown, featuring Lazy Dog.
To obtain tickets for the hoedown, which cost £10 to include a burger/hotdog (under 12s free), or to enter or join a rounders team, email email@example.com
A complete list of auction prizes will be available prior to the event at www.denehouse farm.com and on the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/denehousefarm