Paediatrics Fellowships Freemasons Scholarships in Otago
This was the first time the lodge room had been used for the ceremony and, from the comment and interest generated, it was a spectacularly successful idea. The room was full of recipients of the grants from the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust and the Medical School and University awardees. There were several special guests: Hon Pete Hodgson, MP Dunedin North, Michael Woodhouse, MP Dunedin, Councillor Andrew Noone, representing the Mayor of Dunedin, Monsignor Walker, representing the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, Carol Melville, representing the Otago Community Trust.
After the awards to community groups, three Paediatric Fellows were awarded:
- Dr Catherine Sherwin
- Anna Dawson
- Amelia Gill
Dr Sherwin is currently working at a hospital in Chicago and was thus unable to be present but Anna and Amelia were present.
Dr John Adams, Dean of the Medical School, spoke of the critical underfunding of research in universities and the dependence on organisations such as Freemasonry to assist. He spoke of the long association between the Otago Medical School and Freemasonry and he outlined some of the research which previous Paediatric Fellows had undertaken. He introduced the current recipients and outlined the work which they are currently undertaking. It was absolutely clear that the Medical School is most appreciative of the support which Freemasonry gives to students.
Dr Adams was assisted in making the presentations by John Dennison, a Freemason and a Research Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, at the Otago Medical School, also a member of the former Board of Benevolence which managed the Freemason funds to create these fellowships. It was of interest to the audience that John carried out the Computerised Tomographic scans of the Egyptian mummies in the Otago and Auckland Museums.
Prof Barry Taylor introduced a mother and child where the Fellows and he had been able to intervene to good effect. The mother of the child, born with a very rare liver disorder, spoke of the child’s condition, the effect that this had on the family and then the research undertaken to find a possible treatment. This child is the only one in New Zealand to be given this particular course of treatment and it involved discussions with medical experts overseas via the internet before it was carried out. The child, aged 2½, played happily around the lodge whilst her mother was talking and quite charmed the whole audience.
Floral arrangements were given to the child’s mother and also to Fran Cockerell, an administrator in the Paediatric Department who has faithfully assisted the programme for several years. Gifts of fine Mount Edward Central Otago pinot noir were given to Dr Adams and Prof Taylor.
The University of Otago Freemasons Scholarships were presented to
- Alistair Escott – medicine – Wellington campus
- Naomi Johnstone – Law and Arts (absent)
- Honor Lanham – Law and Arts
- Allanah Paul – Chemistry
- Scott Sisam – Dentistry
- Naomi White – Psychology and Music
Scott presented his apologies for absence: he was travelling to Rarotonga for three weeks of volunteer dentistry as part of the University of Otago Dental Care Project.
Honor Lanham gave a very impressive vote of thanks on behalf of the awardees, as she did at the Wellington presentations.
Prof John Drummond, Associate Dean (Academic) of Humanities, spoke about the role of the University in challenging and tempering the minds of the students and also its role in supporting them and encouraging each to produce of their best. He congratulated the awardees on their selection and valued very highly the support which Freemasonry gave to study at University.
A gift of fine Mount Edward Central Otago pinot was given to Prof Drummond and a basket of flowers to Leane Turnbull of the Scholarships office for the huge amount of work she has done in liaising with the Scholarships Committee and the students.
Afternoon tea and a tour of the lodge rooms concluded a wonderful afternoon for Freemasonry.
University of Otago, Freemasons Scholarships Committee
Attached photo by Brian Connor:
(Left to Right) Alan Jackson, Honor Lanham, Alistair Escott, Naomi White, Allanah Paul, Prof John Drummond