The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website


Norfolk flying doctors in new bid for airplane

CraigRaeOranmoreBrownWebBy Keith Morris

2009: Former Norfolk doctors, Craig and Rae Oranmore-Brown, are climbing new mountains in their dream to establish a Christian flying doctors service in isolated rural areas of Zambia and are also appealing for funds for a new aircraft.

Twenty months after the medical consultants left Norwich, Mercy Flyers is now a registered Non Governmental Organisation in Zambia and has supporting offices in both the UK (near Norwich) and the USA (near Boston). But the couple, who worshipped at Norwich Vineyard, are having to climb mountains of paperwork and political negotiating in a bid to establish their dream two years after they climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise start-up funds for the venture.

Craig said: “It is our opinion, shared by many of our colleagues in the charity sector in Zambia, that “Unity is Strength” and in working closely together and sharing resources we can all achieve a lot more for the community. The charity has seen over 300 patients in the clinics and operated on over 100 of those seen. The surgery provided so far has been in gynaecology, orthopaedics and plastics and provided training and anaesthesia support to the rural hospitals.”

Mercy Flyers are working with Dutch relief organization CORDAID as well as Flyspec in Zambia.

Craig has now completed training for his commercial pilot’s licence in the USA and has converted this to a Zambian commercial license. This sets the stage for the flying operations in Zambia. 

“Our need for our own aircraft has become critical. The charity Wings of Hope in the USA have offered to help us in this regard. A Cessna 206 aircraft has already been sourced which is being partly donated by its owner. We therefore only need to pay $60 000 (around £40,000). This is extremely cheap for this aircraft and we are pleading with the public to help us raise this amount before we lose this wonderful offer.”

After spending the first six months working at a mission hospital in a rural village in the East of the country, Rae became acutely aware of the need for trained surgeons and has now completed her first year of a specialist surgical training programme at the teaching hospital in the capital Lusaka. The hospital serves those unable to afford private health care.

Rae said: “I am enjoying contributing to the surgical care of a wide range of patients and would like to thank health professionals from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital who have contributed various items to help those less fortunate in Zambia. We appreciate your effort and interest and our patients are truly grateful for the difference these items make.”  
Anyone who would like to make a donation can visit the website www.mercyflyers.org and find various ways of doing this.
Pictured above are Craig and Rae Oranmore-Brown, working together in theatre at St Francis Mission hospital and a Cessna 206, like the one Mercy Flyers want to purchase.
., 19/03/2009

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