RAF man says Gan reunion the inspiration for Addu Atoll hospital fund

A recent return to Gan for one former member of Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has reportedly been the inspiration for a fund aiming to strengthen medical facilities on the island.

Richard Houlston, from Devon in the UK, spent a year of his RAF service in Addu Atoll between 1969 and 1970, where he worked to maintain transmission equipment to support a nearby British airbase operated from Gan, reports the Express & Echo newspaper, published in Exeter in the UK.

Speaking to the newspaper, Houlston said that the Gan Scholarship Fund, which hopes to raise about £10,000 (Rf202,664) to provide training and equipment in order to try and boost medical facilities in the area, was formed after a visit to the island by 28 airmen the island earlier this year.

After being greeted and looked after by the people of Addu Atoll during a visit, which also included time for a spot of diving, Houlston said the airmen were concerned by the standards of healthcare available to local people.

“There is a hospital on the island of Hithadhoo, where I was working, but it struggles to give anything more than a basic service,” he told the paper. “The closest proper hospital is in India, over 1,000 miles away.”
At present, Houlston said £1,600 (Rf32,000) has been raised for the fund.

The RAF were based at Gan from the early 1950s to the mid 1970s.


2 thoughts on “RAF man says Gan reunion the inspiration for Addu Atoll hospital fund”

  1. Just to put the record straight the architect for the fund was Larry (Geordie) Dodds. However, credit Richard for getting publicity for the Scholarship Fund; of which I am a contributor

  2. To all the people on Addu,,,The idea is to give you something to remember the airmen that served on RAF Gan..We only recently found out that when the RAF left, you were virtually abandoned by both the British and Maldivian governments,,we as airmen were in no way involved in that situation and on behalf of those airmen I would like to say sorry...A lot of us have been back to Gan[myself 5 times]and eventually the idea of a reunion on the island came to fruition.The reception,after 40 or so years was absolutely amazing and very emotional,with plenty of tears shed as old friendships were rekindled..Stories were told,,questions were asked and as we were all getting on in years,,medical care came to the fore..We were told that for relatively minor ailments/injuries,evacuation to Male or indeed India was necessary,that was where the idea of an Airmens fund centred on trying to raise enough funds to maybe send some youngster to train, as what we call in the UK a paramedic ,or possibly buy some equipment for your medical centres..Who knows how it will end up,,but we will help somehow in appreciation of your friendship over our time on your Island [GAN]. Larry Dodds RAF Gan jan69/jan 70...


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