In 1994, Rotarian David Morgan, of the Rotary Club of Porthcawl in South Wales, became President of Rotary in Britain and Ireland. David had seen the work done by the Rotary Doctor Banks of Germany, the Nedderlands and Scandinavia and he felt that RIBI should have similar organisation. David asked Tudor Jones, the District Governor of D-1150, to explore the possibility of setting up a Doctor Bank in RIBI and Tudor invited George Mercer, a member of the Rotary Club of Cardiff, to be the first Chairman.
Once the Rotary Doctor Bank of GB and I had been set up, George Mercer and Eric Sturdy, a surgeon and member of the Rotary Club of Newport Uskmouth were awarded a Carl Miller Discovery Grant by the Rotary Foundation to visit Mission Hospitals in East Africa to set up links so that volunteers from RIBI could visit these hospitals to help treat the patients.
The first volunteer was Robert Bratman, a gynaecologist and a member of the Rotary Club of Aberdare, who spent seven weeks on the island of Pemba between Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Bill Duff, a retired General Practitioner and a member of the Rotary Club of Porthcawl, spent two months in Kamuli Hospital in Uganda, the first of many volunteers to visit that hospital. In those days, Uganda was very unstable and it was not safe for Europeans to travel alone there, so Bill was accompanied by an armed guard whenever he went outside the hospital grounds.
In 1998, The Rotary Doctor Bank was selected as the RIBI Preferred Charity by President Neill Hill, which gave the Doctor Bank a great deal of publicity. Neill was keen for the Doctor Bank to work with the Nepal Trust and in 1998, 2 volunteers travelled to Humla in Nepal. Unfortunately, at that time there was considerable political unrest in Nepal and no further visits were made.
In 2001 siamese twin girls were born in a village in Ghana. There is considerable prejudice in superstitious Africa about this type of event, but fortunately a Doctor Bank volunteer, radiologist Genny Scarisbrick, was at Kumasi Teaching Hospital at the time and was able to carry out all the pre-operative investigations to to determine the interconnection of their internal organs to assess the possibility of a successful separation. The successful separation of the twins took place at Kumasi Hospital.
By now the Doctor Bank was firmly established as a Rotary Charity and has been well supported by Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs ever since.