A medical trainee who was forced to flee war-torn Uganda in 1971 before settling and working in Linlithgow, has been awarded the prestigious Jim Riddell Memorial Trophy in recognition of 40 years’ work in Africa and West Lothian.
David Olwa fled the African state in fear of his life following the military coup which saw Idi Amin wrest power from Milton Obote.
Mr Olwa chose to settle in Linlithgow after leaving Uganda where he married his wife Dorothy.
It didn’t take him long before his concerns over the desperate state his country was in for medical staff and equipment saw him returning to his home town of Lira along with Dorothy to carry out some preliminary assessments of the local hospitals.
It became obvious very early on in this assessment phase that the country now lacked even the most basic facilities.
Their charity work in West Lothian, particularly in setting up the Association of Serving the Humanity International (ASHI), meant they were in a position to offer both financial and tangible assistance. David then made a direct appeal to hospitals across Scotland for medical equipment, as well as to his then employers, NHS Lothian.
It is believed that David’s contribution to the Ugandan medical service over the past 40 years has now exceeded £360,000 in value.
He said: “I never for a moment thought I would be recognised for my voluntary work - this came as a huge surprise. I never set up the charity for personal fame, it’s always been about helping humanity, it was just unfortunate my homeland needed that help.”