All smiles as Professor Richard Welbury is recognised for 40 years’ service to profession
A paediatric dentist and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) professor has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his dedication to a career spanning more than 40 years.
Professor Richard Welbury has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to paediatric dentistry, dental education and safeguarding of children.”
The 64-year-old, who has taught paediatric dentistry at UCLan for the last four years alongside clinical work as an Honorary Consultant at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said he was “stunned and humbled” to be made a CBE.
“I was gobsmacked when the letter arrived a month ago, it was completely unexpected and then of course it had to be kept a secret. I’m retiring in August and this is a fantastic way to end what has been a very happy and fulfilling career. It’s a huge privilege.”
Richard is internationally recognised for his work in paediatric dentistry. He has published more than 150 scientific articles, 12 book chapters and is a co-author of six textbooks including ‘Paediatric Dentistry’, published initially in 1996 with the fifth edition released in April 2018. It is the recommended text in all UK and Ireland dental schools and has been translated into Portuguese and Russian.
He is particularly passionate about his work involving the safeguarding of children and has published research around how the dental team can play a valuable role in recognising signs of abuse or neglect. Richard’s involvement in child safeguarding started in 1985 when he was the senior house officer on call in plastic surgery at the old Fleming Memorial Hospital in Newcastle. Since then, he has worked with colleagues across the UK and Europe to raise the importance of the dental team in child safeguarding through collaborative research and lecturing.
Richard said: “As a father of four, I’ve always enjoyed working with children in a job that has taken me around the world. To receive recognition for my work involving child safeguarding is especially rewarding.”
It is estimated that Richard has helped to train thousands of dentists over the course of his career. Prior to working at UCLan, Richard was Professor of Paediatric Dentistry at the University of Glasgow from 2001 – 2015 where he was also Director of Postgraduate Education and Deputy Head of the Undergraduate School.
He is originally from Morpeth in Northumbria and gained degrees in dentistry and medicine from Newcastle University in 1978 and 1984 respectively. After specialist training, Richard was appointed Regional Consultant and Senior Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University School of Dental Sciences in 1991 before moving to Glasgow.
Professor Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean of Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at UCLan, congratulated Richard. She said: “I couldn’t be more pleased to hear of this award for Richard. It is very well deserved and is a reflection of the hard work he has put in.
“I have been delighted to have Richard share his knowledge and experience so enthusiastically with both our students and our staff over the last few years and although we wish him well in his retirement, we will be very sorry to see him go.”
Richard and his family live in East Kilbride near Glasgow. He is looking forward to spending more time with his children and grandchildren following retirement, though he will continue to supervise five UCLan PhD students.
He will receive his honour at Buckingham Palace later this year.