Contact: +2347033996028 Founder Of Mary Slessor Foundation, Dr Mitchell Dies At 84 - Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Founder Of Mary Slessor Foundation, Dr Mitchell Dies At 84

               Dr Mitchell and wife, Eme

The founder of Mary Slessor Foundation, a foundation based in Akpap Okoyong, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, Dr Lawrie Lawrie Mitchell, has died in Portugal at the age of 84.

Born in November 1935 in Dundee, Dr Mitchell studied medicine at St Andrews University where he met his first wife Pat, with whom he had four children..

After graduating he emigrated to Canada where he became head of the A&E Department at Riverside Hospital in Ottawa.

In 1975 he returned to Dundee, settling in Monikie, and spent his working life abroad on a variety of short term contracts, from the oil to the paper industry.

He carried out stints in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, the Caribbean and West Africa. In 1994 he settled in the Nigerian city of Calabar where he met his second wife Eme.

He spent time as the ship doctor on the QE2 – winning the ship’s table tennis trophy – and was the doctor on the 1980 movie The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb, starring Eva Marie Saint, Harry Andrews and Tom Baker.

He worked as a doctor for the United Nations during the Chad civil war and was responsible for medical care in a refugee camp of 40,000 people.

In 2000 he set up the Mary Slessor Foundation, inspired by the work of the Dundee missionary of the same name.

Based in Akpap Okoyong – the village Slessor called home for the last 40 years of her life – the charity operated a clinic; palm oil processing plant; and joinery, welding and fabric design centres.

Lawrie Mitchell with his wife Eme in Nigeria.

The charity provided medical care and employment opportunities for a community several thousand strong in the remote Nigerian jungle.

Lawrie Mitchell with his wife Eme in Nigeria.

In 2008 Dr Mitchell received the MBE for his services to the health and wellbeing of the people of West Africa.

As a young man Dr Mitchell represented his school and university at both rugby and cricket, and played league table tennis in Dundee.

He was a Dundee United fan but his first love was cricket and he attended many of the summer tests at Lords.

One of his most famous patients was Geoffrey Boycott, who he treated for tonsillitis as a locum in Yorkshire. He and Eme retired to Portugal in 2007.

Whether in Nigeria, Dundee or Portugal he was fond of discussing politics over his evening “sundowner” beers, and kept in touch with hundreds of past patients, many of whom continued to seek out his medical advice.

An ambassador for Dundee, he was always proud to tell people about his Scottish roots.

He is survived by his second wife Eme, his children Gary, Neil, Sean and Shionagh, and his five Grandchildren, Kara, Lyndsay, Kate, Tessa and Ena.

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