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Rare French honour for British doctor, from Barnes
A pensioner from Barnes who dedicated his life to medicine has been granted a prestigious French award for his lifelong services to the medical world.
Harry Holden, 82, was given the Legion d’Honneur – a title rarely awarded outside France - for his dedication and services to French medicine at a ceremony in the French Embassy in London.
Mr Holden, who still holds clinics three to four times a month for French people in London, said he was very honoured to receive the award.
He said: “I was a little surprised. It is a privilege to be recognised.”
Mr Holden, who was at school in Highgate during the war, said he was always fascinated by science.
He said: “I thought this is something I can do which will always be required and useful and it is something I can do anywhere in the world – we are all built in the same way.”
After school Mr Holden studied medicine in Paris and then went to work in a hospital for sick children.
He then went on to study at Harvard University and the Washington University School of Medicine, before going on to work in Bordeaux at the Portmann Foundation, specialising in ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery.
He became director of the ENT unit at Charing Cross Medical School and made huge innovations in the field.
He worked overseas in Asia and the Middle East and was a surgeon to the royal families of the UAE and Qatar.
Ambassador Bernard Emié said in a speech at the ceremony: “Professor Holden, you have dedicated your life to medicine and to helping sick people and have never strayed from that oath which makes medicine such a great, noble and unique profession. France owes you a great deal.”
As well as the Legion d’Honneur, Mr Holden was awarded Ordre des Palmes académiques for his academic contribution to medicine.
Monsieur Emié said: “Through your contribution to medical research and your commitment to voluntary social action, you are an eminent figure in Franco-British relations in the field of medicine. It is only fair, after so many years, that you are now being formally recognised for this commitment.”