A RETIRING ophthalmologist requested an unusual leaving present from his employers, in the form of surplus ophthalmic apparatus.

After more than 30 years of school medical work, all Dr Aung Myin wanted was the ophthalmic equipment that he'd been using in the Blackpool, Cleveleys, St Annes and Fleetwood health centres.

You would not be alone in wondering why.

A souvenir of his life-long work perhaps?

No, thoughtful Dr Myin had in mind his home country of Burma, now called Myamar.

He explained: "When I went there to the eye hospital two years ago, they were using equipment which was completely out of date."

Burma is unable to purchase new medical equipment itself as the country is subject to international political sanctions imposed on the governing dictator because of his unsatisfactory record on human rights.

Dr Myin, who goes out every January to take part in a national medical meeting, always takes medical supplies with him.

Last year it was medical instruments, discarded when new items were acquired.

This year the Fylde Community Health Trust agreed to let him have three sets of trial lenses for testing eyesight and a lens meter they are no longer using.

Delighted with the present Dr Myin said: "I really am extremely grateful to the Trust and also to Manchester University which has also donated some medical instruments.

"This equipment will make a great deal of difference to the lives of the people there."

Trust chief executive Philip Scully says he can't recollect ever being asked for such an unusual farewell present before, commenting: "Dr Myin has worked as a clinical medical officer in Blackpool for many years and we were moved by his request.

"It is so easy for us in this country to take health care for granted.

"We are only too pleased to see equipment we can no longer use serving a useful purpose and wish him all the best as he negotiates its way safely out to the eye hospital in Myamar."

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