Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel I can’t leave without saying something in gratitude, particularly for this wonderful bowl - I don’t know what my father would have made of it. It won’t be so easy to bring back every time.
But if I may say so, I am enormously touched and flattered to have been asked to follow in my father’s footsteps, all those years of his footsteps, here, at Royal College of Surgeons. What he would have said if he knew I was succeeding him - I don’t know.
What I do know is the last conversation I had with him, I was saying to him, he was nearly deaf, and I said, “We’ve been talking about some kind of reception for your 100th birthday”, and he said, “What?” and I said, “we’ve been talking about your 100th birthday”, and he said, “Well I’ve got to be alive for it”. And, sadly, he wasn’t. He always told me he didn’t really want to be 100.
Anyway, I know how much he valued his connection with the Royal College, as will I and I’m full of admiration for all you do throughout the medical profession - particularly, if I may say so, during this terrible pandemic which has caused agony, burdens and challenges in a way nobody could ever have predicted, or thought would have been the case.
We owe, as always, an immense depth of gratitude to all of you I know put so many hours and so much of your life and emotion and skills into helping people who are going through very difficult times and all I can say is thank you and I’m very proud indeed to be involved in such an eminent organisation.