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HIGHLAND HEROES: Modest Inverness medic remembers 'true heroes' awarded at ceremony

By Gregor White

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Andy Kent (left) with his hero of heroes award presented by Martin Fitzgerald of Scotbuild Building & Construction. Picture: James Mackenzie
Andy Kent (left) with his hero of heroes award presented by Martin Fitzgerald of Scotbuild Building & Construction. Picture: James Mackenzie

Andy Kent was named healthcare hero of the year and the hero of heroes at the HNM Highland Heroes Awards earlier this year.

With nominations now open for the 2024 Highland Heroes awards – a chance to pay tribute to those making a positive difference across communities – we have been catching up with the winners of the 2023 awards.

Surgeon Andy Kent is based in Inverness but has also travelled the globe as a volunteer member of medical charity UK-Med, offering his expertise wherever possible across a range of humanitarian crises including in Ukraine.

After being presented with this hero of heroes award at the Highland Heroes ceremony at the Drumossie Hotel in March this year he said it meant even more to him than receiving the OBE awarded to him in the King's New Year honours list.

Looking back on the awards evening now he said: "We (my wife Jill and I) had a great evening and were so impressed at the number of true heroes there are working away behind the scenes in the Highlands.

"I felt extremely honoured to receive the healthcare award (I prefer not to think of it as 'winning') but was extremely humbled to then be nominated, and subsequently receive, the Hero of Heroes award.

"That caught me completely by surprise – so much so that I’d let my guard down and had a couple of celebratory drams (Jill had insisted I drink only water until after the healthcare award) and had clearly not prepared a second thank you speech!

"Fortunately, the rest of the audience were also celebrating and so my ad hoc speech seemed well received!"

Of what has been up to since he said: "This year has not been quite so busy as 2022 (when I was out of the country for 26 weeks on various missions), although I did deploy to Malawi the week following the awards ceremony in March!

"Since then I have been on standby for various potential deployments – Morocco, Libya and, most recently, Israel / Gaza.

"Unfortunately, the demand for humanitarian aid as a result of both man-made and natural disasters continues to spiral across the globe."

While he admitted the awards ceremony seems a lot longer ago than seven months he added that re remembers it well – and fondly.

You can nominate your Highland Hero 2024, choosing from across 14 categories, here

The closing date for nominations is December 17.

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