Clyde Thomson was included in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list, announced yesterday on the day of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations in Australia. The award (Member of the Order of Australia) recognises decades of service to remote communities – in Australia and overseas – through his work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“It was a huge surprise and an extremely pleasant one. I am absolutely delighted to receive this award,” said Thomson, who recently retired as CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, SE Section.
“I am humbled by the personal recognition but also delighted that this award acknowledges the invaluable work of all those people on the front line of health and emergency services in rural and remote areas.”
Clyde Thomson was recruited to the RFDS by the Rev Fred McKay, who was himself appointed as successor to the Rev John Flynn – the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“Since its foundation in 1928 the RFDS has had a long tradition of service to bush communities. I am proud to have followed in that tradition of service,” said Thomson. “Many equally dedicated people work for the RFDS, as well as other organisations that provide emergency services and health care in remote areas, and I feel privileged to have worked alongside them.”
Thomson spent thirty-nine years with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, as pilot, as chief pilot and for the past twenty-eight years as CEO of the South Eastern Section. During his tenure he helped set up the first remote clinical training schools in partnership with Sydney University, he introduced a raft of primary health care services and oversaw the expansion of the service from two aircraft and one Base to twenty-two aircraft and six Bases.
Thomson has served on the Board of the Broken Hill Hospital, he worked in partnership with the Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Service and he served on the Board of the Medicare Local. He currently serves on the Boards of the African Medical and Research Foundation in Kenya, the Friends of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in England and the Far West Local Health District.
“I am immensely proud of the achievements of the organisations I have worked with and thrilled that those organisations have made a positive contribution to the health and welfare of people living and working in remote and rural communities.”
Thomson was awarded the George Medal for bravery in 1966, the Equity Trustees CEO Award in 2003, the Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003 and he was appointed Adjunct Professor of the University of Sydney in 2004.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable support of our patrons, Her Excellency the Honourable Professor Marie Bashir and Sir Nicholas Shehadie. I also want to thank all the RFDS Board members, past and present, and express my sincere gratitude to all those generous donors and supporters who continue to provide assistance to the RFDS, especially the RFDS Friends.”
As for me, I want to pass on my sincere congratulations to a man who inspires and supports me every day.