Lord Ribeiro was born in the Gold Coast during the war, “a son of the Empire” and is proud of his heritage.
His Father was a teacher at Achimota College, near Accra, hence the ‘Achimota’ in his territorial title. The family moved to England in 1952 and after a period at boarding school at Dean Close, Cheltenham , he went to the Middlesex Hospital in 1962 (his Father by then was an Ambassador to Ghana and posted overseas).
He played rugby and hockey at school and probably spent more time at medical school doing sport than studying – but eventually qualified in 1967.
It was at the Middlesex that he met a certain physiotherapy student – Elisabeth – she claims she could hear him coming along the underground corridors linking the medical school to the hospital, long before she saw him, because of his booming voice! Although the Middlesex has now been flattened and a new development is in construction – the underground corridors are probably still there (at least they like to think so) as they were lined with cracked asbestos coated pipes!
Lord Ribeiro’s surgical training started in Essex and was followed by registrar and senior registrar appointments at the Middlesex and Central Middlesex Hospitals. A sabbatical year in 1974 in Ghana not only gave his, now, wife Elisabeth and their baby son the opportunity to see his family and work in a less developed country, but also meant they missed out on the 3-day week and the blackouts. The impact of the oil crisis had a significant effect on his career ambitions as the opportunities for consultant posts in Urology were reduced and he made a career change to General Surgery – specialising in colorectal disease and later, minimal invasive surgery of the gallbladder. He was appointed consultant surgeon to Basildon and Orsett Hospital in Essex in 1978 and enjoyed 30 happy years with marvellous colleagues.
Lord Ribeiro became interested in medical politics in the mid-1980s and was elected to the Council of the Association of Surgeons in 1988 – then Honorary Secretary for 5 years, and later President in 1999. Elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1998 – he served as President from 2005-2008 when he retired, also retiring from the NHS and private practice in the same year. He was knighted for services to medicine in 2009.
Medical politics however have continued to play a key role in his life and in 2010 he was made a Life Peer with the territorial title of Achimota and Ovington (where he now lives).
Lord Ribeiro and his wife, Elisabeth celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in 2013. They have one son and three daughters and four grand-daughters, who keep them busy. He is never far from the water – his garden slopes down to the river Itchen – they both enjoy fly fishing and the grandchildren love paddling in the river – but he manages to find time for other country pursuits as well!
He became a member of the Barbers’ Company in 1990 was elected to the Court in 2006.