Smileawi receives Dean’s Award at Faculty of General Dental Practice Dinner

About a month ago I called Nigel and Vicky Milne to sort out some of the logistics around the forthcoming visit that some of our students will be making to Malawi in June to work with Smileawi on an epidemiology project (see next post).

At the end of the call, Nigel asked if I could do him and Vicky a favour by attending the Faculty of General Dental Practice Dinner in London on Friday 15th March to collect an award on their behalf, since they would both be out of the country at the time. As it happened, I was attending the dinner anyway to represent the Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow and I was both honoured and delighted that I had been asked to act as a proxy for Nigel and Vicky.

The event was held at The May Fair Hotel in Stratton Street, London.

May Fair Hotel
The grand setting of The May Fair Hotel, London

It was a tremendous evening in the hotel’s Crystal Room. A good number of my friends and colleagues from the West of Scotland FGDP section were present and I also very much enjoyed catching up with John Milne, the Senior National Dental Adviser for the Care Quality Commission, who I had met in Tanzania on the Bridge2Aid Dental Training Programme in September 2018 (see previous post).

Dinner scene 1
The Dean and guests enjoying the very convivial atmosphere of the FGDP Dinner

Dr Ian Mills, Dean of the FGDP, described the history of Smileawi, the charity established by Nigel and Vicky Milne that is working in many different ways to improve oral health in Northern Malawi. It is quite incredible to reflect on all that has been achieved, in a relatively short space of time, by these two dental practitioners, who also run a busy dental practice in Dunoon on the west coast of Scotland.

Ian reading citation 3
The Dean of the FGDP, Dr Ian Mills, describing the work of Nigel and Vicky Milne, founders of the charity Smileawi

l was delighted to be given the opportunity to say a few words before collecting the award on behalf of Nigel and Vicky. Not only am I hugely impressed by what they have achieved and continue to achieve, but I am very grateful for their collaborative ethos. One of the ongoing challenges for all those involved in international development work is the joining up of many individual projects where there are synergies that can combine to increase impact and sustainability. In that context I mentioned the developing links between Smileawi, Dentaid, Bridge2Aid and our own MalDent Project, together with dental industry partners, which will allow us to extract maximum benefit when working with our colleagues in Malawi.

JB at lectern
Delivering a short acceptance speech on behalf of Nigel and Vicky  

The award was then entrusted to me for temporary safe-keeping and transportation up to Scotland to meet its rightful owners

Ian Mills and JB
Accepting the Dean’ s award from Ian Mills, on behalf of Nigel and Vicky

On Friday 22nd March, Nigel and Vicky were at Glasgow Dental School for a training event (see next post). This was my opportunity to do the presenting as a proxy for Ian Mills. Unfortunately it wasn’t as grand as the real thing at the May Fair Hotel (not a robe in sight!) but I think it’s clear from the smiles just how delighted they are!

JB Nigel Vicky FGDP Award
The final phase of the award process … at last it’s in the hands of the winners!

If you would like to read more about this years FGDP awards, you can do so at

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