Switzerland team meet with Dutch Mercy Ships surgeon in Den Helder, The Netherlands

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The team of Switzerland have met with a Dutch voluntary surgeon for their nominated charity, Mercy Ships, to hear about the work that is carried out using money they raise.

Tjeerd de Jong, a plastic surgeon, has been volunteering with Mercy Ships for two years. He has carried out surgery on patients from Guinea and the Republic of Congo for the hospital ship charity.

Tjeerd met the team during the Den Helder stopover and presented Switzerland with another pennant, symbolising another life saved from the money they have raised during the last race for the charity. $1500 symbolises one life and this is the 21st pennant that has been raised by the crew since September.

Tjeerd said: “It has been a pleasure to meet with the crew of Switzerland, and we at Mercy Ships Holland and all our partners are so grateful for all their efforts. It has been valuable to get an insight into what it is like racing round the world and to get a feel for their sense of adventure.

"I'm impressed with the commitment of the members of Switzerland, not only to perform in the race, but also to Mercy Ships. Their enthusiasm to raise funds for Mercy Ships and save lives is commendable. It was great to meet them".

Tjeerd has helped screen patients as well as carry out surgery twice on a ship for four weeks at a time.

Richard Brook, a doctor racing on Switzerland on Legs 4 and 8, said: “I’m a Rotarian and our clubs have had an association with Mercy Ships so it has been a pleasure to be involved. It’s been great fun to be involved in the fundraising and has given us a focus in ports to raise awareness.

“I’ve been volunteering on the Mercy Ships stand today and I met a dentist from the charity and it’s been fascinating to find out about what they do as it is so different from their usual clinical practice.

“Getting as many people involved as possible and meeting the real people doing it has been fantastic. I will now consider how I could best volunteer with Mercy Ships in the future myself.”

The team have been raising awareness for the charity as well as funds on their round the world adventure.

Mercy Ships have around 800 volunteers each year ranging from doctors, nurses, and people in roles such as HR and comms.

In the last year there have been a hundred Dutch volunteers on Mercy Ships vessels.