A MIDDLESBROUGH doctor is among a list of North East recipients in this year’s New Year’s Honours.

87-year-old Charles Viva has been recognised for his services to plastic and reconstructive surgery in the developing world.

The Teesside-based doctor is the founder and trustee of Interplast UK and will receive an MBE.

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He is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who has helped thousands of people in developing countries, performing life-changing free surgery to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

He formed Interplast UK in 1990 as an international organisation of plastic surgeons and associated professionals who provide free reconstructive surgery for underprivileged patients in the developing world including work across Africa.

Some of the most common operations carried out are to correct cleft lips and cleft palates.

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On an average two-week trip the team will see between 600-700 patients and will operate on 200-250 patients.

Mr Viva said: “You do get affected by patients’ stories and that’s quite normal.

“Even though we treat so many people, each case is different and each patient has their own story.

“I do this work because I am thankful to God for blessing me with a family and the means to survive and that’s why I want to help other people.

“The days are long and the work is hard but we know we are improving people’s lives.

“We treat and God heals.

“I am very humbled to receive this award because I know there are so many deserving people out there.”

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He has raised money to enable teams of surgeons and nurses to visit countries across Africa and the Far East, often biannually.

Initially Mr Viva conducted this voluntary work in his holiday allocation whilst holding his full-time position as a plastic surgeon in the NHS.

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He was and still is renowned, professionally and by the general public, for his exemplary skills as a plastic surgeon and his work has changed countless lives.

Mr Viva has also excelled in teaching and developing the teams of local surgeons, nurses and carers he works with.

If you would like to donate to the Interplast UK GoFundMe page to support the cause, click here.


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