Kenya Children’s Homes founder becomes DBE in New Year Honours

Ann Gloag
Ann Gloag

Stagecoach transport empire co-founder Ann Gloag, has been made Dame of the British Empire (DBE) for services to business and philanthropy in the New Year Honours list.

In 2002, the 76-year-old former nurse founded Kenya Children’s Homes (KCH) and six years later launched the Perth-based charity Freedom from Fistula, which provides free maternity care and surgery to women injured in childbirth in Sierra Leone, Malawi and Kenya.

Kenya Children’s Homes was established by her Balcraig Foundation when the Scottish charity took over the running of the former Thomas Barnardo House in Nairobi. The orphanage is the flagship project of KCH and is home to up to 200 orphaned, destitute and abandoned babies and children at any one time.

Through KCH and associated projects, around 1,700 Kenyan children are helped every year.  The charity has a committed team of 200 Kenyan staff including teachers, house mothers, management and social workers, all of whom have the single goal of providing the best care, protection and education to the children they help.

The philanthropist, named Scotland’s richest women in 2014, has also been a generous contributor to various charities, including a gift of £4 million to support ‘Mercy Ships’, a US-based charity that converts old car ferries into floating hospitals. 

Ms Gloag was honoured with an OBE recognising her charitable works in 2004 and was listed as one of Scotland’s most powerful women in the same year. In 2012, she endowed a Chair in Global Health Implementation at the University of St. Andrews, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa.

Talking about the award, she said: “Never in my wildest dreams, growing up in a council house in Perth, did I think this would ever happen.

“I am pleased the honour mentions my nursing as what I learned as a nurse, dealing with people from all walks of life, helped me succeed in business and has been the cornerstone of my charitable work.

“Whilst this Honour is being given to me, I would like to pay tribute to everyone who helped us build Stagecoach into the success it has become and thank all our staff and supporters of our charities who are too many to mention.”

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