A MOVING tribute to Scottish medical missionary and explorer, David Livingstone, was paid at a health board meeting last week by his great, great grandson who is also a Glasgow surgeon.
Mr Neil Wilson from Bearsden commemorated the bicentenary of the great explorer’s birth by presenting the Glasgow health board boss, Andrew Robertson, with a historic gavel carved from the wood of the tree where Livingstone’s heart was buried following his death in Zambia in 1873.
The gavel has a long standing connection with the health service in Glasgow as it was used by the NHS Executive Council for the City of Glasgow following the creation of the NHS from 1948 through to 1974.
Since then the gavel has remained in safe keeping within the NHS archives.
Presenting the gavel, Mr Wilson, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, said: “To have such a tangible link is a great reminder that the events of the past live on into the present.”
Receiving the gavel on behalf of the health board, Mr Robertson, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this wonderful historical artefact.
“Following David Livingstone’s death Florence Nightingale described him as ‘the greatest man of the age’ and it is indeed an honour to receive this gavel which will be put on display for our visitors to see.
“Given Livingstone’s strong links to medicine in Glasgow it seems to me that it is fitting for us to be responsible for the safekeeping of this most extraordinary of artefacts.”
Health board archivist, Alistair Tough said that with the gavel there was also a certificate of authenticity from another famous historical figure, Robert Young, who was the British officer
responsible for suppressing the slave trade in North Eastern Zambia following Livingstone’s death.