Sales of the autobiography of the late orthopaedic surgeon John Anderson, who transformed thousands of Teesside lives by introducing joint replacement to the region, have raised £1,000 for charity.
The Man Behind The Mask tells the story of steelworker’s son, John Anderson’s journey from the streets of Middlesbrough town centre to being honoured by the Queen for his contribution to medicine.
The book was initially published privately for family and friends, but after John’s death last August it was reprinted in aid of Middlesbrough Lourdes Fund and the NSPCC and featured on Teesside Live.
Sales have just reached £1,000 and all the money has been handed over to the two good causes, thanks to Mr Anderson’s family covering the printing costs.
“Dad’s Catholic faith was important to him and during his life he had given money to the Lourdes fund mainly to help people who were unable to pay for the pilgrimage themselves,” said Mr Anderson’s daughter, Rachael.
“He also loved children and his career in the medical world will have shown him the great work the NSPCC does to help those who need it most.
“I’m sure he would have been delighted to see so much money raised from sales of his book going to help such worthwhile causes.”
Keith Tillotson, director of the Diocese of Middlesbrough Lourdes Pilgrimage, said: “We’re extremely grateful for this money, which is almost enough to pay for a supported pilgrim who otherwise could not afford it to go to Lourdes.
“Unfortunately we have been forced to cancel our 2020 and 2021 pilgrimages but the donation will be put to good use when we return in May 2020.”
Many of the people who bought the book were former patients who spoke so highly of John’s brilliance as a surgeon and how having their hips or knees replaced had made such a difference to them.Michael McGeary, The Memoir Man
Katy Carmen, NSPCC fundraising manager for the North East, said: “This is a wonderful donation in memory of Mr Anderson, and will make a genuine difference in the lives of hundreds of children across the region and the country.
“Every £4 donated to Childline means our counsellors can answer another call, email or message from a child who desperately needs their support. Through the generous donation raised by this book, Mr Anderson is helping us make 2021 a better year for children, and we could not be more grateful.”
Michael McGeary, who helped write the book through his business, The Memoir Man, said: “Many of the people who bought the book were former patients who spoke so highly of John’s brilliance as a surgeon and how having their hips or knees replaced had made such a difference to them.
“But the other consistent thread in the emails we received was how kind and caring he was, always taking the trouble to follow up on his patients and see how they were doing even many years later.
“Many former colleagues also ordered copies of the book and they also praised John for his dedication to his work as well as the warmth of his personality.
“The messages were incredibly touching and were all passed on to John’s widow, Freda, and the family. Many added a donation in his memory to the cost of the book, helping boost the funds raised even further.”
One reader, Pamela Warne, wrote saying: “I bought a copy of this book for my mam and she really enjoyed reading it. Many years ago John Anderson replaced both my dad’s knee joints, which were extremely successful.
“I’ve just finished reading this book myself and it was so interesting and enjoyable to read that I couldn’t put it down. I’m so glad I bought it, as it was nice to read about John’s family and his life.”
Mr Anderson, who would have been 80 last month (January), was a founder member of the National Joint Registry Committee and was awarded the CBE for services to medicine in 2004, receiving the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
“Being able to serve the people of my hometown in the way I did was a wonderful privilege,” he wrote in the book.
“It would be very hard to beat the feeling of seeing the happiness that a new hip or knee joint gave my patients and the transformation in their lives that followed. That’s all the reward I could ever ask for.”
In his role as chief of service for the trauma division he oversaw plastic surgery, maxillofacial surgery, spinal surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, A&E and orthopaedics, first at Middlesbrough General Hospital and then James Cook University Hospital.
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