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John and Elsie Harris - TLM Heroes

A man in a shirt and tie and black-rimmed glasses smiles while he puts his ram around his wife, who is wearing a pale coloured dress and blue cardigan

John Harris (1924-1995) had a long and distinguished career as a medical missionary on two continents, with his wife Elsie working alongside him. The couple’s life as missionaries began in war-torn Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but when it became too dangerous, they moved to India to work in a leprosy control/training program.

From 1961-1963, in Karigiri and Velore, John trained in reconstructive surgery under his cousin, Paul Brand. In 1963 he was accepted for service with TLM and served as Medical Officer at Chevayur Hospital, Kerala, until 1968.

The family then made another move to fill a vacancy in Nepal, where from 1968-1973, John was Medical Superintendent at Anandaban Hospital. Their final move was back to Zaire, where they retired but remained in Nyankunde – training staff and overseeing The Leprosy Mission's projects.

From 1987-1995, John was the Africa Director for TLM and travelled all over Africa to support TLM's staff. He was awarded an OBE in 1992 in recognition of his work. He died in an accident in 1995 and was laid to rest in a beautiful spot amongst the people that he loved and served. Elsie returned to England and died on 1st January 2017.