Someone who gives their life for others. Someone who dedicates their life for humanitarian work. A great friend, a great person, a great philanthropist and a great supporter of our country. This is Dr. Elaine Laycock.
The story about Dr. Laycock was written on the occasion of the most recent visit of hers to Serbia and as a gratitude for all her enormous help and dedication to the hospitals and institutions in Serbia.
Dr. Elaine Laycock is the medical advisor of Lifeline Humanitarian organization in the United Kingdom, whose Patron is HRH Crown Princess Katherine, for over 20 years, as well as a Medical Director and patron of SOS Bosnia organization.
During the Bosnian war of the 1990s Dr. Laycock was present with her convoys full of humanitarian aid. In the period of six years Dr. Laycock delivered 14 convoys of medical supplies, medicines, X-ray machines, ECG’s, stethoscopes, incubators, ventilators, amputation saws, external fixators, beds, food, mobile surgical units, complete dental surgeries for 4 villages, and many more.
“In 1994 we were in a convoy of aid going through Albania. The convoy stopped, and I got out to go around the corner to see why we had stopped. As I rounded the bend, I could see very closely three bandits in the middle of the road, two kneeling and the middle one standing up. They were about twenty yards away. They fired at me and all missed. They were not firing blanks. At that range I have no idea how they missed. I flattened myself behind a stationary car, and when the shooting stopped wriggled back to where I had left our truck. It was not there and had been moved by the police because of the firing. We were at a crossroads. I said out loud “Dear God which way have they gone?” Something said, “Go right”, so I ran right. I found a very worried crew who had heard the firing. When I got back into the truck and looked at my watch, it was 1.05 pm. I thanked God for the Hotline, and I still do. Without it I certainly would not be here. I can still see those bandit’s sometimes”, said Dr. Elaine Laycock about one of her strongest memories.
After the war, on the urgent request of HRH Crown Princess Katherine for help to Toponica Psychiatric Hospital and school in Kulina, Dr. Laycock immediately gave her help and also refurbished and built many facilities such as Lazar Lazarevic Hospital, Toponica Primary School, Toponica Kindergarten (built 2010, opened by HRH Crown Princess Katherine), Matejevac Kindergarten.
In Clinical Centre Nis there are many things changed thanks to Dr. Elaine Laycock – new adolescent center (Occupational therapy, SMART board, table tennis) outdoor garden, dental unit, separate dental room for handicapped New children’s dental unit, Single dental surgery for handicapped children provided, Molecular Biology Unit 1st in Serbia, Oral Maxillary Unit.
And it was not all about medical equipment. Together with Blackwells, Oxford, the books are provided to Banja Luka and Sarajevo Libraries destroyed in the war.
Refurbishing and help by Dr. Laycock were essential in order to keep working for Kulina Primary School, Kulina Institute (handicapped children), The Pink House 100 (for very handicapped children), a Family Unit was established (to train 10 children for discharge, a first in Serbia) and opened by HRH Crown Prince Alexander, Aleksinac Rainbow Centre, Integrated center for orphans and handicapped children built (first in Serbia), Bela Palanka Kindergartens, Krusevac Hospital, Nis Clinical Centre pediatric oncology department.
The Centre for palliative care in Knez selo was opened in July 2013 thank to Dr. Elaine Laycock and HRH Crown Princess Katherine who have been diligently working together on improving palliative care in Nis and all over Serbia for many years. 2010 was very important since Serbia was awarded 3 million euros for palliative care over 3 years to educate 2,000 doctors and nurses, introduce undergraduate teaching, and e-learning.
After the tragic loss of her friends who were taking aid to Bosnia, Dr. Elaine Laycock started the National Memorial for Humanitarian Aid Workers killed on duty. Amazing progress was made: four very moving annual services, and wreath laying at Westminster Abbey, Dr. Laycock read two of her own poems in 2016, and 2017, £380,000 was raised for a permanent memorial.
Dr. Laycock has never forgotten Serbia. In 2017 an ambulance for Toponica Special Psychiatric Hospital was delivered by HRH Crown Princess Katherine, as well as a transit van for Ozren Hospital. The newest achievement in the presence of HRH Crown Princess Katherine was a fully equipped ambulance car for Ozren Hospital in Sokobanja, as well as a fiberscope, new hospital beds with mattresses and computers. Dr. Laycock’s son Stuart installed windows in many objects, such as the church at Toponica Special Psychiatric Hospital.
“There is not enough words to describe these incredible actions of support of Dr. Laycock’s magnificent humanitarian work. But she doesn’t need words. People who know her, know what she has been done for this world. Thank you Dr. Laycock for everything you are doing, thank you for being a great example of humanity and the greatest friend. I wish there are more people like you, may God Bless you!”, said Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Katherine.
HRH Crown Princess Katherine awarded Dr. Elaine Laycock with the special award as a recognition for all her help and humanitarian work, at the dinner in honour of Dr. Laycock which was organized at the Royal Palace on Saturday, 21 April 2018. On the same occasion, the letter of support of His Holiness the Patriarch Irinej of Serbia was read, in which he expressed his appreciation for Dr. Laycock’s work and wished her the virtue, spiritual strength and inexhaustible help in the noble and patriotic mission of hers.