Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, the ex-presidents,
I am delighted to have been asked to deliver this citation for Mrs Ann Seymour, who is here with her husband William and her daughter Charlotte, who will all be too aware of the formidable force that is Ann.
I would like to call this citation "The lay representative - A token force or a force to be reckoned with?" as her column in the college bulletin was called.
Apparently what I am about to say has all occurred by accident, with the blame falling completely on her son Carl who started a series of events whilst he was sitting on an adult surgical ward after having his appendix out.
So, It was an accident that following this experience in the 1980s she joined the National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospitals and began fundraising.
She accidentally set up a helpline for distressed parents and after listening to their pleas to stay with their child, demanded that her local hospital allowed parents into the AR with their children.
After this local success, and others,which begins to let us see a trend developing,
she joined the RCOA Patient Liaison Group in the 1990s and hence started her long career in bothering anaesthetists, nurses and managers who are responsible for caring for children.
She then helped with the Tanner Report followed by demanding that starvation times RCOA guidance on provision of paediatric anaesthesia included. Apparently irritating quite a few people along the way.
There then follows a list of misdemeanours including:
- lay representative to the APA council in 2009-2012
- British Paediatric Surveillance Unit Scientific Committee
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Patients’ and Carers’ Advisory Group
- NCEPOD Expert Working Group, ‘Surgery in Children
- Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) Board
- National Collaborating Centre for Women and Children’s Health Board
- National Advisory Committee for Enquiry into Child Health
- safeguarding provision
- children's information project
- lots of guidelines
- spoken at APA conferences
- written on the website for parents and children section
But perhaps her greatest contribution to children and the parents of , has been her unswerving commitment to peer review.
She started reviews in 2004 in Manchester and joined visits with whichever hat she was wearing ASC, CHC, MLSC, RCOA, APA.
Over the last few years she has been a constant presence in the APA peer review team.
It is very time consuming with lots of travel and time away from home but she was overwhelmed by the sense of getting out there, seeing what was really going on and really making a difference. She even postponed her hip surgery to fit in a review!! She came back even faster and more driven after.
I have had the greatest pleasure in doing many reviews with her.
Quickly realising that the smile and gentle tones were a disarming distraction for the steely determination within to represent the needs of children and parents in hospitals.
She might sit quietly in the room or at the back of the team but If Ann tilts her head and speaks, you listen.
The size of her contribution to fighting for and representing children and families over 30 years is immeasurable.
So a token force or a force to be reckoned with?
Well perhaps the story which answers this is Ann's involvement in organising the Olympics.
"Apparently they're going to put surface to air missiles in the park outside my house" she announced one morning.
"Well, I will be seeing Lord Coe and I will be seeing about that."
Yes I thought, might as well move them now.
So it is with great pleasure that I recommend Ann Seymour, to become an Honorary Member of the APA.