CIO of Ramsay Health Care, John Sutherland, has temporarily stepped away from his work post to take part in today’s official ceremonies of the Australian Government commemorating the centenary of the battles at Fromelles and Pozières in northern France.
Sutherland will be playing the bagpipes as part of the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes and Drums to mark the commemorations in France.
“The First Australian Imperial Forces suffered horrific casualties during the Western Front campaign of World War 1,” Sutherland said, who told CIO Australia his father served in the British Army in Korea, following which he immigrated to Australia, before joining the Australian Army. He then served in Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War.
“He was highly decorated for bravery in Vietnam and received the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Following this he met his wife to-be while recuperating from his war injuries in a repatriation hospital, before settling in Canberra at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. I grew up in Canberra and with the family connection to the Army spent 10 years in the Army Reserve.
“During this time I moved from an infantry role to join the Sydney University Regiments Pipes and Drums, playing the bagpipes. Many ex-service men continue to play an active role through the RSL, and several RSL Pipes and Drums have got together to form the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes and Drums to mark the commemorations in France this year.”
Sutherland said given the family background, he has always had an interest in Australia’s military campaigns - and made the trip to Gallipoli to commemorate ANZAC day last year with his own family to participate in the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli.
“It’s a privilege to participate in these events. Playing music has been a lifelong interest of mine, and it adds a little colour and sound for the officials and audiences attending a street march, marching out parade or commemoration such as those marking the Battles of the Somme,” he said.
Following the commemorations, Sutherland will be heading to Paris on business to meet with his CIO counterparts of Ramsay Health Care’s French and UK businesses.
He said Ramsay Health is a company that has a unique history. “Founded over 50 years ago, Ramsay prides itself on provided the highest quality of care for its patients. It is also unique given on the death of Ramsay’s founder, Mr Paul Ramsay, Paul bequeathed his wealth to the charitable Paul Ramsay Foundation, the largest gift in Australian corporate history. There isn’t another company in Australia where 30 cents in every dollars profit goes to a Foundation to be returned to the community,” he said.
“Given my parents met in a repatriation hospital, and Ramsay has acquired several large repatriation hospitals over the years, continuing to provide a range of health services to active and retired servicemen and women, I was very happy to combine this visit with my musical passion.”
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