Mr. David Price OAM


Prof. David Runia
Email: [email protected]

Vice President:

Rev. Colin Honey


Mrs. Viviane Harangozo
Email: [email protected]


Mr. Ken Gilbertson
Email: [email protected]

Newsletter Editor:

Dr. Nancy Nicholas
Email: [email protected]

Minutes Secretary:

Rev. John Connan

Committee Members:

Mr. Jim Richardson
Prof. Lynette Joubert

Alumni Liaison:

Dr. Sunil Datta

Address for Correspondence:

P O Box 455
Essendon, North Victoria 3041

Please post all Donations ( cheque & money order) to:

Treasurer, FOVV
P O Box 455
Essendon North Victoria 3041

Direct transfer or deposits to:

Friends of Vellore
Bendigo Bank
BSB: 633 000
Account No.: 139 185 151
Please Email details of any deposits to : [email protected]


President’s Report 2020




Friends of Vellore Victoria
Annual Report 2019–20 to the Australian Vellore Board
Presented at the Annual General Meeting held on 17 October 2020

A little more than a year ago, on 24 August 2019, the Victorian branch of the Friends of Vellore organised two important events at Queen’s College, The University of Melbourne.

(1) It hosted the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Vellore Board. About 12 representatives and local branch members attended. Highlight of the meeting was the video link with the Director, J.V. Peter, in Vellore, in which he was able to show a PowerPoint presentation and speak to it at the same time. It was a very thorough account which brought those present right up to date with the situation in Vellore.
(2) The same evening the branch held its annual fund-raising dinner. It was well attended with 75 people present, including members of the AVB and tables from the University of Melbourne and from Queen’s College. There were three speakers. First the President of the AVB, Dr Stephen Aseervatham, gave a summary of the activities of the Board. After the main course, the guest speaker was Board member Dr Chellam Kirubakaran, who spoke about “Paediatrics at CMC, past, present and future”. Finally, at the end of the evening Dr Nathan Grills, fresh off the plane from Vellore, spoke about his trip and the collaboration between CMC and the University of Melbourne in the area of public health. All three speeches were well received. The dinner raised nearly $5000 for the AVB and through it for the CMC.

A little over two months later, on 9 November, the branch held its Annual General Meeting at Queen’s College. The President and the Treasurer reported on a successful year. The members of the committee were re-elected, but its numbers were reinforced by the election of Mr Ken Gilbertson as Treasurer. He took over the role from Ms Viviane Harangozo who was warmly thanked for her role as interim Treasurer for more than a year. The guest speaker this year was committee member John Connan, who spoke on the subject of “My love affair with India.” While studying at Bangalore in the early 1960’s he visited Vellore and was surprised to meet Dr Ted Gault. This was the beginning of a lifelong association with the Friends of Vellore. His main message was that the CMC richly deserves the support of the world-wide FOVs, particularly because what it does for the poor and disadvantaged.

During all these events and all the planning that they outlined, no one could foresee what the year 2020 held in store for us. This was also the case in January 2020, when I visited the CMC in my role as Vice-President of the AVB. Vague reports were circulating about a worrisome virus in the Wuhan province of China, but no one was taking a lot of notice. This all changed very rapidly in March. It soon became clear that the events that the Committee had planned, including the Annual fund-raising dinner would not be able to take place.

Despite these unforeseen developments, however, I am pleased to report that the branch had its most successful fundraising year for many years. During the period 1/7/19 to 30/6/20 the FOVV was able to transfer $77,427 to the AVB (mainly to designated destinations and the support fund, but also including $1000 to the general fund). This was well over double the amount of the previous year, $29,906. The main sources of the donations were as follows:
(1) continuation of the annual giving campaign 2019 for designated projects (PTP fund, Emergency Fund, Sight preserving surgery, scholarships);
(2) new annual giving campaign for 2020 focusing on covid-19 preparedness;
(3) annual fund-raising dinner;
(4) very generous donations to special projects, notably for the Distance learning department and its Community Lay-leaders Health Training Certificate, and for commitments to Nursing and Allied Health scholarship schemes.

Looking ahead, it will be a great challenge to match this result in the coming year, because the covid-19 crisis is making communication difficult. But we will continue to spread the message of both the achievements and the needs of the CMC. As this year has shown, when one asks, one also receives, through the great generosity of our supporters.
The committee decided that it was a good time for the annual accounts of the last two years to be reviewed by professional auditors. The audit has been completed and the accounts will be taken to the AGM of the AVB.

During the year, the branch compiled and distributed three Newsletters, in October, February and June. For the last two a new method of distribution was used via the computer application Mailchimp. This application allows the results of the distribution to be tracked, which led to a disappointing discovery. There are 313 addresses on our friends list which received the email of these 8 bounced, 124 opened, and 4 recipients responded by unsubscribing. These figures are quite acceptable. Regrettably, however, only 10 recipients actually opened the Newsletter on receiving it attached. Such a poor result cannot justify the work put into producing the letter. The committee is now deliberating on how it can pursue a more effective communication strategy.

The committee has of course moved to zoom meetings since the beginning of the lockdown period. This is actually a positive development since we are rather far-flung in terms of our home locations. The AGM planned for 7 November will also be held by zoom. We are using the opportunity of long-distance communication to attract a speaker in India, who will be able to tell about how the CMC is dealing with the covid-19 crisis and what it has meant for staff and patients. I have been in contact with Mr. Hugh Skeil about this.

It remains for me to thank the friends of Vellore in Victoria for their support and in particular the committee for its commitment and hard work during the year. We are also very grateful for the support that we receive from the AVB and in particular from its President. Dr Stephen Aseervatham.

Prof David Runia, President Friends of Vellore Victoria.















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