GEORGE NEILSON PATTERSON, born Falkirk, 19.8.1920.
Missionary, traveller, writer, activist.
Given ‘Light of Truth’ award by Dalai Lama in 2011.
Died peacefully at Auchlochan care home, 28.12.2012.


GEORGE NEILSON PATTERSON was born in Falkirk, 1920, and at ten years of age went to live in the outlying village of Laurieston. He was educated at Falkirk High School but left school at the age of thirteen, continuing engineering studies at the Falkirk Technical School. During World War II he worked as an engineer in the weapons department of the local notable Carron Engineering Company. At the end of the war he left engineering to   study at the Missionary School of Medicine in London for a year before going on to China and Tibet as a missionary in 1946.

From 1946-7 he studied the Chinese language in Central China and then travelled to the China-Tibet border in early 1947. With the Tibetan border town of Kangting as a base, he travelled extensively in East Tibet, living among the militant tribal Khambas and learning the language while treating them medically.

With the Chinese Communist invasion of Tibet imminent in 1950, and his medical supplies depleted, at the request of the Khamba tribal leaders he travelled in mid-winter across Tibet from east to west by a previously unexplored route to alert the governments of India, Britain and USA regarding the expected Chinese invasion and to seek help for the Khambas in their resistance, arriving in India in March, 1950.

Unable to return to Tibet because of the Chinese invasion and occupation, he remained on the Indian-Tibetan border towns of Kalimpong and Darjeeling from 1950-61, writing about the life and politics of China, Tibet, and the Himalayan and Central Asian peoples. In 1951 he was requested by the Dalai Lama's family to arrange for the Dalai Lama's escape and exile in the USA, an epic operation which was temporarily aborted until 1959.

First as a stringer, then as a special correspondent, he wrote for a variety of periodicals such as the Statesman of Calcutta; the British Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the Observer; and contributed to international newspapers and journals such as the New York TimesSpectatorChina QuarterlyReaders DigestNew Republic (US),Nation (US).

In 1961-3 he returned to Britain, and had his own radio programme with the B.B.C’s "Asian Affairs in the British Press", participated in other programmes as a commentator and book reviewer, and broadcasting with the Canadian, New Zealand and Australian Broadcasting Corporations.

He entered politics in 1961 and became a Liberal candidate for the Edinburgh (West) constituency but resigned from politics because of other interests. With David Astor, editor of the Observer, the leader-writer Guy Wint and others, he helped set up, and was first director of, the International Committee for the Study of Group Rights, later known as The Minority Rights Group.

From 1964-73, he was based in Hong Kong and travelling throughout Asia, writing and broadcasting about Asian affairs for regional and international media. He worked for Radio Hong Kong and Rediffusion-TV in both radio and television, scriptwriting and presenting current affairs programmes, Behind The HeadlinesWhat The Papers Say, news commentaries, and discussion panels. He also helped create and edit the first commercial journal, Enterprise, for the official Hong Kong Trade Development Corporation.

From 1964, he became deeply interested in all aspects of the Far East regional and international drug problem. In 1971 he was retained by the Hong Kong Government to write a definitive book about the Colony's drug problem, but the project was cancelled because of the politically sensitive nature of the material.

When his wife, Dr Meg Patterson, MBE, MBChB, FRCSEd, developed a revolutionary new treatment for drug addiction (NeuroElectric Therapy, or NET) they returned to London to permit her to develop NET to an internationally recognized drug treatment. Dr Meg Patterson died in July, 2002,

During their professional lives he and his wife produced about twenty books, including his God’s Fool, Tibet in Revolt, Peking Versus Delhi, Requiem for Tibet, Patterson of Tibet; and her Searching for the Impossible, and Hooked: A Revolutionary Approach for Drug Treatment.

In 2011, George Patterson was the recipient of the Light of Truth award. The award honours individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions to the public understanding of Tibet.  Past recipients of the Light of Truth award include: Desmond Tutu, Vaclav Havel, Elie Wiesel, world-renowned author, political activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986; Martin Scorsese, Director; Richard Gere, actor and humanitarian; and the people of India. The Award was presented at his retirement home in Lesmahagow, Scotland.

George Patterson died peacefully at Auchlochan Retirement Village on December 28th, 2012. The surviving family includes Lorne, his wife Beatrice, and daughter, Tara; Sean, his wife Claudia and daughter, Fiona; and Myrrh, her husband, Joe Winston, and daughters, Aisling, Arianne and Helena.

Joe Winston, CEO
NET Device Corp


George Patterson receives The Dalai Lama's
Truth of Life Award 25.03.2011
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George's latest book
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Cover God's Secret Truth

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