There is a big difference between where The Global Library of Women’s Medicine (GLOWM) is based and where its work is targeted.

Its home is the Bloomer household in leafy Wetheral. During the past decade David Bloomer, the library’s publisher, has spent countless unpaid hours in the house’s study.

His work, and that of more than 400 expert contributors who also give their time for free, is used by medical professionals in 180 countries.

This vast online resource contains more than 450 chapters of detailed clinical guidance on all aspects of women’s medicine. Menstruation, contraception, HRT, breast cancer and much more.

“It’s been a useful resource for doctors, midwives and nurses around the world, entirely free,” says David, 77. “Getting them the latest information on the medical care of women. The world leaders in the field are involved. It is contributed to by specialists from around the world. There is no advertising or sponsorship. We feel people have to be totally confident that it’s impartial.”

Much of the material concerns childbirth. According to the World Health Organisation’s figures for 2015, the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth in the UK is one in 5,800. In Sierra Leone it is one in 17.

David says: “When a woman is haemorrhaging in childbirth, she’s going to die unless you can stop it. Inserting a tamponade, which is like a balloon, is one way. If you’re in rural Africa the chances of finding one are zero. But you might find a condom. That’s the kind of information available on the website.”

As well as text and diagrams, the site features lectures and animated clinical guidance. It also has a section on respectful care and women’s health rights. The library has developed a safer motherhood app with the World Health Organisation. This is designed to support midwives working in challenging environments and has a voiceover available in several languages.

David’s determination to spread the word means the entire website, including its 30 hours of educational films, is available on memory sticks.

GLOWM ambassadors in numerous countries visit medical schools, hospitals and clinics in areas without good internet access, and download the library to computers.

Africa has the biggest gaps in internet provision, and the greatest need for medical expertise. David became aware of this during his career in medical publishing. He founded Parthenon Publishing Group, which produced medical journals and textbooks.

“We had published a lot in women’s medicine. The library really started because of what one professor from Chicago said. He couldn’t get anyone to publish a book about postpartum haemorrhage - excessive blood loss during childbirth. That’s a major cause of maternal death in childbirth. It doesn’t happen much in this country but it happens a great deal in less developed countries. I said I’d be happy to publish it. We have given away about 15,000 copies.

“That led me to realise there was an awful lot in terms of maternal medicine and things of that sort that weren’t widely enough known about. You can get books instantly to Los Angeles and Berlin. Try getting them to Africa. It’s impossible. That’s true in many parts of the world.”

The internet created new ways to spread information. When David retired from publishing he set up GLOWM. “It was also to keep out of my wife’s way,” he smiles.

He adds: “Paula has been brilliant. She has played a major part in the administration of this. And she has put her money into this as much as I have.”

Their money, their time, their energy. David gives generously to try and ease the burden of health inequality borne by women in countries which lack the resources, and sometimes the culture, to tackle it.

“Women have more health issues than men throughout their lives. I think the description the World Health Organisation gives is that women ‘suffer an unequal burden of disease and death’.

“I’m just lucky to have staggered through life having the chance to do something that reflects a few of the things I learned in my ordinary career.”

David’s efforts were recently recognised with an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The investiture will take place at Buckingham Palace in October.

“Of course I was extremely grateful for the award. At the same time, I recognise that there are very many other people - particularly those actually caring for women in challenging circumstances - who deserve recognition far more than I do. Amazing people working with no facilities, no back-up. Any minute contribution we make is nothing compared with what they have to do every day. They’re the real heroes. I have travelled to quite a lot of African countries. Africa is full of amazing people. You’d be amazed at the level of sophistication of the leaders of their medical profession.”

David says the biggest impact on women’s health around the world would be simply for women to know more about their bodies. In the meantime, he and his team continue their efforts to educate those in the medical profession, and anyone who sees GLOWM’s material.

Their work must have had a major impact on women around the world, improving - and possibly saving - countless lives. David, an extremely modest man, is reluctant to make such a claim.

“We get wonderful feedback,” he says. “Maybe it has saved people’s lives. It’s not for me to say. I hope that it has perhaps been useful to some people somewhere.”

In small type at the bottom of GLOWM’s home page are the words ‘In memory of Abigail’. Elsewhere on the site is this message: ‘The Global Library of Women’s Medicine is dedicated to the memory of Abigail Bloomer, just one of far too many lovely women who die too young from diseases or conditions that are gender specific. We feel that we owe it to them all to try harder and care better every day.’

Abigail was David and Paula’s daughter. She worked in the family publishing business. Her death clearly - inevitably - remains a painful subject.

“She got breast cancer at the age of 30,” says David. “I was fortunate enough to know the best people in the business. But she sadly left us. We do remember her with real pleasure.

“She died in 2001. She was a lovely, lovely girl. These things come out of left field. It’s very unusual to die of breast cancer at 30.”

GLOWM was created partly out of a wish to provide better outcomes for other women. “She was an incentive,” says David, quietly, of Abigail’s ongoing inspiration.

He and Paula have a son, James, who keeps a herd of pedigree horned Hereford cattle on a farm near Penrith.

David is more relaxed talking about GLOWM than about himself or his family. He is proud that his home county can be a base for something which reaches around the globe. “It is quite interesting what you can do in Cumbria,” he says.

Above his desk is a painting depicting a scene from the Battle of Waterloo. He is fascinated, and inspired, by Britain’s victory late in the day thanks to the arrival of the Prussian army.

Victory against intimidating odds: winning a battle that seems daunting if not impossible.

“You can lose the battle at six o’clock and win it back at nine,” says David. “I like that metaphor.”