Serbian hospice pays tribute to Capital heroine Elsie Inglis

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, attended the Hospices of Hope charity shop on Wednesday. Picture: Contributed
The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, attended the Hospices of Hope charity shop on Wednesday. Picture: Contributed
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For many, Elsie Inglis is Edinburgh’s rightful first lady.

But while the Capital waits for a statue of the pioneering medic and suffragist, Serbia is streets ahead in paying tribute to her.

Scottish nursing pioneer Elsie Inglis.

Scottish nursing pioneer Elsie Inglis.

Her face adorns stamps, her name streets and buildings and soon Serbia’s first ever palliative care hospice will honour her once more by bearing her name.

The Edinburgh doctor is regarded as a heroine in the Balkan country for setting up much-needed units of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals there during the First World War and helping to save the lives of thousands of patients.

Hospices for Hope was set up in 1991 by Graham Perrolls to help terminally-ill children and adults in Romania, Moldova and Serbia.

The charity introduced palliative care and education to south-east Europe. Since then, it has cared for more than 40,000 patients and trained more than 20,000 health care professionals.

The in-patient unit in Belgrade, which is near completion with doors expected to open at the end of this year, will include the Elsie Inglis Ward – a nod to the trailblazer who defied the British government when she took the female-staffed field hospitals abroad. Mr Perrolls said: “The hospice facility in Belgrade really does have a strong link with Edinburgh. Over 100 years ago some remarkable women came from Scotland to open one of the first hospitals in Serbia. Elsie Inglis led her team and did a brilliant job in stemming the tide of illnesses and leading the way in hospice and holistic care in the country.”

Now comes the final push for funding with the launch of two Capital appeals for the charity at the opening of the third Hospices for Hope charity shop in the Capital.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross cut the ribbon on the South Clerk Street store yesterday, joined by Mr Perrolls and charity patron, retired Sick Kids’ paediatric surgeon Gordon Mackinlay.

Appeals for the dedicated respite centre for children living with life-limiting conditions and their families in Romania and the Serbian hospice are well under way, but will be boosted by the new shop that joins its Gorgie and Stockbridge counterparts. The first two stores have already raised £250,000 for the charity to date.

Mr Ross, who has backed the Evening News’ campaign to immortalise Dr Inglis in statue form, said: “Hospice for Hope does phenomenal work. The services that the charity supports in terms of meeting the needs of vulnerable children and those suffering at end of life are some that we take for granted in this country.”