Army medic awarded OBE
AN ARMY medic has been named in the New Year Honours list for his work helping injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Surgeon Commander Anthony Lambert, who is based at Derriford Hospital as a general surgeon, has been appointed OBE by the Queen in recognition of his work at home and abroad.
Cdr Lambert, who returned from his latest two-month tour of Afghanistan in August 2011, said he was shocked at the news of his royal honour.
"It was quite a surprise," he said.
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"I got a letter on my doorstep saying 'don't tell anyone' and then it appeared in the news on Saturday.
"It is a great honour. It means somebody sees what we do and gives us recognition for it.
"But it's not something I ever thought I would get.
"I think I got it for doing more than just operating on the guys who get injured, for fundraising and keeping an eye on them afterwards.
"It's incredible that somebody thinks I am worthy of more than just my pay checks."
Along with his regular duties, Cdr Lambert organises the annual Medics Rugby Challenge, a match between the Royal Marines and Peninsula Medical School, to raise money for the treatment of injured servicemen.
The event, which raises about £25,000 every year, takes place in November and 2013 will see the fifth match.
Cdr Lambert says he enjoys tracking the progress of the patients he treats.
"My first tour was in 2008 and I still keep in touch with some of the guys that got injured then," he said.
"They have had more surgery and having seen them in a real mess it's great to see how they have recovered and recuperated.
"You see them getting back to family life, having more children. Whatever has happened to them they just accept it, there is never any bitterness, they just re-set their life.
"That needs financial input, so when I came back in 2008 the first thing we did was arrange the first rugby match."
Cdr Lambert, who lives in Pennycross and has been a surgeon commander for 13 years, says it is hard not to be affected by the horrific injuries he encounters.
"We all do our bit to make a difference but they have to go back to a life that will never be the same as it was before," he said.
"You can't help but look at the ages of some of the guys that get injured and relate then to your own kids or people you know.
"But I have never known anybody that's been injured who has said they wish they were dead. They all just accept what they still have.
"It's great to get this award but if the boys were not injured I wouldn't have it. It's because of the support that they get, it's a massive team effort from everyone."
For more information about the Medics Rugby Challenge, visit www.medicsrugbychallenge.co.uk