Health minister thanks Blacker Hall Farm beer festival

Surgeon James Forster, centre, on a visait to Sri Lanka
Surgeon James Forster, centre, on a visait to Sri Lanka

A SURGEON who staged a charity beer festival for overseas medical equipment has been mentioned in despatches by the Sri Lankan minister of health.

Urologist James Forster raised more than £5,500 for vital kidney stones treatment by holding an ale festival at Blacker Hall Farm in September and a quiz night in West Wakefield Methodists Church, Thornes in November.

He was one of eight surgeons who travelled to Sri Lanka earlier this month and treated 52 patients. They presented the local hospital with a stone breaking machine and a keyhole surgery camera.

Mr Forster, 35, said: “The Minister of Health for Sri Lanka did a presentation. They mentioned the beer festival.”

The operating conditions were vastly different to the ones Wakefield-born Mr Forster is used to at St James’s Hospital, Leeds.

He said: “It was eye-opening to see how well the local surgeons coped with poor quality surgical equipment, including re-used needles, scalpel blades and anaesthetic tubes. Items we would normally discard are washed in Ether and re-used. It was very humbling to see how dedicated the local staff were, for example theatre nurses travelling a four-hour round trip to work for £5 per day.”

Mr Forster hopes too repeat the fundraiser next year. He wished to thanked all who helped, like parents Peter and Sylvia Forster, of Crigglestone.