New Year Honours 2019: OBE for double hand transplant surgeon

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Professor Simon Kay and Chris King at Leeds General infirmaryImage source, PA
Image caption,
Professor Simon Kay (left) performed the double transplant at Leeds General Infirmary

The surgeon who carried out the UK's first double hand transplant has been appointed OBE in the New Year Honours.

Prof Simon Kay successfully carried out the operation in 2016 on Chris King who had lost both hands in an accident at work.

Together with his team at Leeds General Infirmary he has since carried out four further transplants.

The consultant plastic surgeon has been recognised for his services to complex reconstructive hand surgery.

He said the honour was a testament to the team's "highly skilled and professional work".

"The type of surgery we undertake is very complex, and collaboration is vital," Prof Kay added.

"For me to work [as part of the team in Leeds] is a matter of great pride."

In 2017 Mr King, from Doncaster, wrote a letter thanking the surgeon for restoring his ability to applaud his beloved Leeds Rhinos rugby team.

Image source, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/PA
Image caption,
The left hand of Chris King before his double hand transplant operation

Since he began working in Leeds, Prof Kay has developed a children's hand surgery service and developed the largest centre for birth palsy in the UK.

Chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Julian Hartley, said: "Many people are familiar with Simon's pioneering work in leading the UK's only hand transplant service but he has also made a life-long commitment to caring for children and young people with hand trauma and complex abnormalities which has transformed hundreds of lives."

Other people from West Yorkshire to be honoured include:

  • Diver Jason Mallinson, from Huddersfield, has been awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for his role in the rescue of 13 people trapped in a cave in Thailand
  • Richard West, Disability Services and Dispute Resolution director at the Department for Work and Pensions, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath, for public services
  • Robert Heslett, chair of the charity Personal Support Unit, has been made a CBE for services to self-represented litigants
  • Kayaking world champion Claire O'Hara, from Leeds, has been appointed MBE for services to canoeing
  • Lisa Beaumont has been honoured with a British Empire Medal for her services to the British and World Transplant Games

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