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Dame Claire Bertschinger

Kirsty Young talks to nurse and humanitarian Dame Claire Bertschinger.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the nurse & humanitarian Dame Claire Bertschinger.

She's worked for The Red Cross in over a dozen countries including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Liberia amid the sort of raw human suffering that most of us find - even on the TV - almost unbearable to witness. It was through Michael Buerk's landmark news reports of the Ethiopian famine 30 years ago that she first grabbed our attention. We saw her as a young nurse surrounded by thousands of starving people and forced, daily, to make the truly terrible decision of choosing who to feed.

Throughout the years she's won numerous plaudits and awards: her Florence Nightingale Medal is given "to honour those "who've distinguished themselves in times of war by exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled."

She says, "I don't live just to eat and sleep and get money to have a nice house ... I have to create value - I have to do something in life."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 28 Mar 2014 09:00

Music Played

  • Brian Hyland

    Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini

    • 1960 British Hit Parade: Britain's Greatest Hits Volume 9 Part 2: CD2.
    • Digimode Entertainment Ltd.
  • Peter Yearsley

    Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    • The song of Hiawatha.
    • LibriVox.
  • William Thomas Orchestra (Recorded in 1916)

    The Rose of No Man's Land

    • The Rose of No Man’s Land.
    • Regal.
  • Bransby Williams

    The Green Eye of the Yellow God

    • The Stagedoor Keeper.
    • Windyridge.
  • John Barry

    The Theme from the film Out of Africa

    • Out of Africa: Soundtrack.
    • MCA.
  • Michael Caine

    If by Rudyard Kipling

    • Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund: A Dedication.
    • Naxos.
  • SGI choir & Peter Osborn

    Dare to Believe

    • Glorious Life.
    • SGI.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Paul Simon

      Call Me Al

      • Graceland.
      • Warner Bros.
  • Book Choice

    • A book of monologues

  • Luxury Choice

    • Swiss Army pen knife


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Claire Bertschinger
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 23 Mar 2014 11:15
  • Fri 28 Mar 2014 09:00

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