Honours for royal composer and leading urological surgeon scientist

Honours for royal composer and leading urological surgeon scientist

A University of Aberdeen composer and a leading urology clinical academic have both been recognised in the New Year's Honours.

Paul Mealor, Professor of Composition, has become a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) - a personal gift given by the King to people who have served him or the monarchy in a personal way. 

Professor James N’Dow, University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian, Chair in Urological Surgery, Director of the Academic Urology Unit and co-founder of UCAN the urological cancer charity, has become an OBE for his services to advancement of the profession of urology, his related cancer research and for his voluntary clinical and academic work. 

Professor Mealor said he was ‘truly honoured’ to become a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, joining a distinguished list of composers to have been recognised in this way including Edward Elgar and Arthur Bliss. 

“I am truly humbled to be included in the New Year’s Honours list at the invitation of His Majesty, it has been a privilege and a joy to compose music for occasions to celebrate key moments in the lives and service of the Royal Family,” said Professor Mealor. 

“Hearing my ‘Coronation Kyrie’ performed by the wonderful Sir Bryn Terfel, accompanied by the famous Choir of Westminster Abbey, is a memory which will last a lifetime and I am thankful for the many wonderful opportunities I have been afforded. Joining the Royal Victorian Order is the pinnacle of my musical career.” 

Professor N’Dow, who was awarded the St Peter’s Medal in July by the British Association of Urological Surgeons for ‘notable contribution to the advancement of urology’ said: 

“I am genuinely shocked and incredibly humbled at being recognised in this way and while the OBE may be in my name, I never work on my own. I am simply representing fantastic groups of colleagues who work tirelessly and have sacrificed so much to walk with us towards a shared purpose. 

“This award is about the local businesses and ordinary citizens of Grampian who have supported our urology cancer services via the UCAN charity. It is also about the trust and friendship of colleagues I work closely with in the University of Aberdeen, NHS Grampian, across Europe, the European Association of Urology, colleagues in The Gambia and globally. Finally, this award is about family because they sacrifice the most for journeys like mine.” 

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “These honours are a fitting tribute to the outstanding work and commitment to their respective fields as shown by Professor Mealor and Professor N’Dow over many years.”  

Sir Iain Torrance KCVO, Pro-Chancellor of the University, added: “I cannot say how delighted I am by this news. They are both dear friends and in their different fields they so richly deserve these honours. It’s simply wonderful.” 

Professor Mealor, who has taught at the University since 2003, has written music for a host of important royal engagements including the Coronation of His Majesty the King and the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now the Prince and Princess of Wales). 

The St Asaph-born composer has the distinction of having written the first ever Welsh language performance at a Coronation where his 'Kyrie’ was sung by the bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, accompanied by the world-famous Choir of Westminster Abbey. 

It was the culmination of more than a decade of royal music which began when his setting of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal', rearranged as 'Ubi Caritas et Amor', was commissioned by Prince William and Catherine Middleton for their 2011 marriage ceremony. 

Professor Mealor has also composed music for a number of charity endeavours, including the song 'Wherever You Are' which was performed by the Military Wives choir conducted by Gareth Malone and became the UK's 2011 Christmas number one single; and music to support the Ballater flood relief efforts championed by His Majesty. 

An Aberdeen graduate, Professor N’Dow joined the University as a medical student in 1985 on a British Council scholarship from The Gambia. After graduating and completing basic surgical training in Aberdeen, he moved to Newcastle to do his urological surgery and research training and then returned to Aberdeen and the University in 2001. 

Over the last 22 years Professor N’Dow has strived to establish Aberdeen as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for urological research and securing research grants and philanthropic (cash and in-kind) contributions worth more than £60 million and publishing studies in high impact science journals.  

Professor N’Dow has also significantly contributed to raising the standard of care provided to patients and their families in the north of Scotland, leading major fundraising campaigns for UCAN – one of which led to Scotland’s first successful robotic surgery programme as well as one that funded a cancer centre staffed by cancer specialist nurses to support patients and their families affected by urological cancers in the North of Scotland.  

As well as holding various board appointments, Professor N’Dow has never forgotten his roots – he originally intended returning to The Gambia. For more than two decades he has travelled every year initially with a team of surgeons and nurses to volunteer his services in the only teaching hospital in The Gambia, helping implement education and training programmes in gastroenterology, and more recently switched his focus to helping improve maternal and infant health programmes by supporting six public childbirth facilities in The Gambia together with international partners including Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. 

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