To receive his OBE from the Queen for the work he had done to halve the mortality of new-born babies in the borough and to develop the Paediatric Assessment Unit at the Manor Hospital was a truly special moment for Walsall Healthcare Consultant Paediatrician Professor Abdul Gatrad.
Professor Gatrad, now 76, received his honour from the monarch in 2002 and was impressed by her knowledge – and her firm handshake!
“Her Majesty certainly did her research and she was a joy to speak to,” said the father-of two, who was also made Freeman of the Borough of Walsall for his health and charity work.
“She asked me about my work and knew I had written text books and published many papers on paediatric issues in international journals. She was genuinely interested and engaging and did make me feel like a VIP! I also remember her having a lovely smile and a very firm handshake.”
Professor Gatrad, who has worked for the NHS for 51 years and served as Deputy Lieutenant to the Queen, has also had a book published, entitled: ‘Moments in Time: From Postman to Professor and Beyond.’ He was the founder of Walsall Against Single Use plastic (WASUP) back in 2019 and this has now achieved global recognition, becoming World Against Single Use Plastic.
He added: “For me, the Queen upheld the dignity of the crown and the best of British values.
“When anyone talked about the Queen globally – there was just one – our Queen. She was our mother, mother of the nation and mother of the world. Her death has made us all reflect; not only on what she has done for us but on what we can do for others to continue her legacy.”