An Aberdeenshire woman is preparing to set sail on board the world’s largest charity-run hospital ship to help save lives in the West African nation of Senegal.
Sandra Campbell, from Ellon, will volunteer as a nurse on the Africa Mercy health vessel for five weeks.
The boat, operated by international charity Mercy Ships, provides healthcare and training to developing countries.
It is staffed almost entirely by volunteers like Ms Campbell from more than 40 different nations across the world.
Ms Campbell has volunteered with the Mercy Ships organisation since 2010 and has offered her services to some of the poorest people on earth on board a number of ships.
She spends several weeks at sea with the organisation every year.
While she will be spending five whole weeks on the Africa Mercy, it will stay docked in Dakar, the port capital of Senegal, until July 2020.
During that time, the charity seeks to deliver 1,7000 surgical procedures and train 1,400 healthcare professionals, helping to improve medical conditions and care for some of the world’s poorest communities.
Since Mercy Ships was established in 1978, it has helped more than 2.7 million people through its work.
Ms Campbell, 69, said: “I always look forward to my times on board and meeting with shipmates I have worked before and new ones from all over the world.
“It is a great atmosphere to work in, as each of us comes with the same desire to serve and make a difference.
“In spite of differences in nationality, culture and age we all come together as one global community.
“Though cabins are tight for space and privacy, it is a small sacrifice to make for such a life-changing and fulfilling experience.”
Hannah Mulvihill, crew support coordinator for Mercy Ships, added: “We are so grateful for the volunteers who travel to the Africa Mercy to volunteer their time and skills.
“Only 50% of the roles on the ship are medical and every role is filled by a volunteer.
“From the cleaners to the nurses, the receptionists to the electricians, we couldn’t offer this vital service without them.”