An MSP has called for a new £90million hospital planned for the north-east to be named after a famous African missionary.
Labour’s Lewis Macdonald said the facility should be called the Mary Slessor Women’s Hospital.
He argued that the move would be a “fitting tribute” to the famous Aberdonian who spent nearly 40 years working to improve the lives of women and children in Nigeria.
Mr Macdonald made the call yesterday during a speech at Holyrood to mark 100 years since Mary Slessor, who is featured on a Clydesdale Bank £10 note, died in Calabar.
NHS Grampian decided in December to press ahead with the so-called women’s hospital and new cancer centre to be built next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
It is hoped it will be opened in December 2020 and the cancer centre facility in December 2019.
The women’s hospital, which will be linked to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and ARI at Foresterhill, will replace the maternity hospital and its neonatal unit, gynaecology and other services.
Mary Slessor spent almost 40 years working with the United Presbyterian Church in Nigeria, promoting women’s rights and spreading the Christian message.
She was born at Mutton Brae, close to what is now Belmont Street, in December 1848 – the second of seven children in a poor, working class home.
During her time in Africa Miss Slessor, who became a missionary at 27, gained recognition for dispelling tribal superstition that the birth of twins was considered a curse.
Following her death in January 1915, Miss Slessor was given the equivalent of a state funeral in Nigeria.
NHS Grampian has launched a consultation on naming its two new health buildings on the Foresterhill site.
Mr Macdonald said: “Mary Slessor devoted her life to the physical and spiritual well-being of women and children in Nigeria after growing up in poverty in Aberdeen and working in a jute mill in Dundee.
“The dedication she showed in helping the women and children she worked with in West Africa illustrates the best of Aberdeen.
“It would be a fitting tribute if the city was to name its new women’s hospital in her honour.”