A HEROIC doctor who saved countless lives in Ukraine was honoured with a Sun Who Cares Wins award in a jaw-dropping surprise presentation by King Charles.
Dr Freda Newlands, 62, thought she was attending a reception at Dumfries House, Ayrshire, but instead was greeted by His Majesty asking: “Is there a Dr Freda in the house?”
He handed her our Best Doctor award on what turned out to be his final day as Prince of Wales.
The doctor who was honoured with a Sun Who Cares Wins award by King Charles said she never dreamed she would meet His Majesty — yet has kept it secret from her children for two months.
Emergency medicine specialist Dr Freda Newlands, had been invited to Charles’s Dumfries House residence in September, having been told it was a reception for all nominees of our prestigious awards.
In fact, she was the only visitor — and was stunned when Charles arrived.
He then presented her with the Best Doctor gong for her work providing urgent care in humanitarian crises around the world.
It was his last engagement as the Prince of Wales — as his mother, the Queen, died the next day.
Dr Freda said: ‘’Little did I know that the next day he would be king.”
A video showing Charles surprising the selfless medic was played at last night’s awards ceremony — which was also the first her children knew of the meeting.
Dr Freda said: “I was completely taken in by The Sun’s ruse to get me there, I must say.
“I was just thrilled to have a tour of this lovely house. I didn’t dream I would meet His Majesty.
“This will be such a special memory and I kept it a secret that I met His Majesty even from my children Alice and Douglas because they were coming with me to the awards and I wanted them to have the surprise too when the video was shown.”
Dr Freda recently spent two months in Ukraine with the frontline medical aid charity UK-Med, treating victims of the war.
She has also helped treat trauma casualties on the Syrian border and helped tackle a deadly outbreak of diphtheria in Bangladesh.
During their meeting, they discussed her many mercy missions with UK-Med and other organisations, including Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Dr Freda said last night: “I was so shocked, totally gobsmacked when I met him.
“He knew everything from my background and where I’ve volunteered.
“I was so impressed by how natural he was and how chatty he was.
“He was so brilliant at carrying the conversation too, I wasn’t overwhelmed because he was so good at making me feel at ease. He was genuinely interested in everything I had to say, it felt very special.
“The next day he became king, but he made me feel comfortable in his presence.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him. It was such an incredible privilege to have him present the award too. I might be the last person who met him in the capacity of Prince Charles before he became king.
“It was overwhelming. I just loved every minute of it. He’s an advocate of the NHS and women and it’s a memory I’ll never, ever forget.”
Charles told Dr Freda during their meeting: “When I think of all the things you do I just can’t believe it. It really works. Many many congratulations. It is incredibly well deserved.”
Dr Freda, of Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway, found her calling later in life, having spent 15 years as a secondary school biology teacher before graduating from medical school in 2008.
She said: “Being a doctor has been a lifelong dream. I never thought I would get the chance to be a doctor. So it is an absolute privilege to do what I do every day.”
She was nominated by colleague Richard Dear, 52, who is head of logistics for UK-Med.
He said: “Freda is always one of the first to drop everything at home and deploy without question into whatever or wherever UK-Med need her expertise.
“She does not make a song and dance about her humanitarian work either, it largely goes unnoticed and unmentioned outside her immediate circle.
“Someone who takes these risks, and is this selfless, kind and giving, deserves every accolade.”
The ceremony was held last night at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, North London and presented by Davina McCall.
Guests included boxer Anthony Joshua, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and comedian Al Murray, who presented Dr Freda with her award again last night.
Davina, 55, said: “There’s something about The Sun’s Who Cares Wins event which leaves you with the feeling that you want to do more and to do better.
“Sometimes we get so much news fed to us which is so negative that you end up feeling that the world is such a terrible place.
“But there are acts of such miraculous good happening all over the place all of the time. Here we can show and tell you all about them. I’ve got a packet of industrial tissues ready.
“These stories are amazing. The other thing I think you hear again and again is how humble the winners are.
“They will always say they’re just part of a big team. They won’t even accept the glory for themselves.”
The amazing stories of our other nominees will be revealed when it is shown on Channel 4 and All 4 at 6.30pm on Sunday.
Our awards — sponsored by the National Lottery and in partnership with NHS Charities Together — honour medics, scientists and members of the public who show exceptional care and courage.
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