‘Doc’ Lambert Nominated for Pride of Plymouth

Shortlisted in the Armed Forces category in this year’s Pride of Plymouth Awards is Naval Surgeon Cdr Anthony ‘Doc’ Lambert OBE.  Tony is a key driving force behind the scenes of Devonport Services as well as being a former Navy player and at times surgeon to the current players.

Doc Lambert is living testimony that old style ‘characters’ remain in the Game.  His various exploits are legendary but protected by the omerta of ‘what goes on, on tour, stays on tour.’  However his passion for life and helping others regain theirs is the reason for the nomination.  A few years ago he launched the annual Medics Challenge rugby match.  The game between the Royal Marines and the Peninsular Medical School has quickly become an established fixture on the West Country rugby scene and raises much needed money for the Royal Marines Benevolent Trust.  Tony also gives his time to Surf Action a charity that has done much to help rehabilitate Service combat veterans, including many from Hasler Company.

Surfing like rugby is one of the Doc’s favourite hobbies and was a considered a great way to help rebuild injured Service personnel’s lives.  In his own words “Some them weren’t that keen at first, because they didn’t like the idea of having to be carried into the water.  But in the end there wasn’t really that much persuading on my part – just the promise of a beer at the end of a hard day in the sea.”  Following the on going success of Surf Action perhaps beer should be available on the NHS?

In his playing days, in the front row, Doc Lambert seemed intent to drum up business for his chosen profession.  Always in the thick of the action both legal and otherwise Doc was never known to take a backward step.  His 36-year career as a player was cut short, ironically, by injury in 2008.  Being unable to just sit back and enjoy live his free time and energy was directed into setting up the Medics Challenge rugby match.  As a Naval Surgeon who had deployed on many occasions Doc Lambert had seen first hand the trauma and injuries being sustained by ‘our troops’.  He had operated on them in theatre and also on their return to the UK and now wanted to raise money to ensure that all aspects of their after care, as they sought to rebuild their lives, could be provided for.  For this work and his professional work Doc Lambert was awarded the OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list.

The Pride of Plymouth Awards are a celebration of unsung heroes.  The 12 categories include one for the Armed Forces for which Tony has received his nomination.  The awards will be presented at a gala celebration evening to be held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel on 14 November.  Which gives Tony just about enough recovery time from the Medics Challenge on the 5th November and the Combined Services v Barbarians match on 12th.

By Geraint Ashton Jones
Images © George Ramsay & © facebook (rugby image)