Farewell to a good friend of Vietnam

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Doctor Madeleine Agnes Sharp

The funeral for Dr. Madeleine Agnes Sharp, a British woman who spent decades developing humanitarian aid operations in Vietnam, took place January 27 in the city of Coventry, England, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

Born in 1921, Sharp studied at Edinburgh University with the dream of becoming a doctor. But after being a nurse in the British Royal Army, she decided to spend the rest of her life campaigning for peace.

Dr. Sharp is one of many Coventry citizens who joined the movement protesting American involvement in the Vietnam War that ended in 1975.

In 1965 she became a supporter of the Medical Aid Committee for Vietnam, which later became the charity Medical and Scientific Aid to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (MSAVLC), and started to attach herself to humanitarian works in Vietnam.

During 20 years between 1989–2009, as the Chairman and Honorary Secretary to MSAVLC, Dr. Sharp paid many visits to Vietnam, figuring out practical ways to help Vietnamese people and children in rural areas.

Some of MSAVLC's major humanitarian activities in Vietnam include the Highland Education Development organization, which provided training for more than 1,500 midwives in eight northern mountainous provinces to reduce fatality rates among mothers and newborns.

MSAVLC also provided prosthetic arms and legs for victims injured by bombs in the war, cataract operations and cleft lip and palate surgeries, and provided medical assistance to child victims of Agent Orange.

At the tribute ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Vu Quang Minh said over the past half century, doctor Sharp became one of Vietnam’s best friends. He said she made great and tireless contributions to Vietnam’s struggle to liberate the nation and its development after the war.

Her noble virtue was not only recognized by the Vietnamese Government’s Order of Friendship in 1992 and a series of other medals given out by various ministries, but would also be remembered by the people of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, he said.

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