Mr. David Price OAM


Prof. David Runia

Vice President:

Rev. Colin Honey


Mrs. Viviane Harangozo


Mr. Ken Gilbertson

Newsletter Editor:

Dr. Nancy Nicholas

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 :


President?s Report 2021

Friends of Vellore Victoria Annual Report 2021

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate all aspects of life in the state of Victoria. But, although the ravages of the disease were terrible, though less so here than in India, they were also a call to action. Our contacts with the CMC intensified and we can look back on a year in which our activities successfully responded to needs that were greater than ever before.

 The Annual General Meeting of the FOVV was held on 7 October 2020. On this date Melbourne was still in grip of its long-lasting lockdown, so the meeting was held via zoom. This enabled us to have a guest speaker from Vellore, Dr Chandra Singh, Deputy Director Finance CMC, who was able to give us an up-to-date and highly impressive report on how the CMC was responding to the crisis.

During the meeting, the following members of the committee were (re-)elected:
Patron: Mr David Price OAM
President: Prof David Runia
Vice-President: Rev. Colin Honey
Secretary: Mrs Viviane Harangozo
Treasurer: Mr Ken Gilbertson
Publicity Officer: Mr Neil Champion
Events coordinator: Mr Jim Richardson
MoU liaisons: Prof Lynette Joubert and A/Prof Nathan Grills
Alumni liaison: Dr Sunil Datta
General members: Dr Nancy Nicholas and Rev. John Connan

The newly elected committee got off to a good start with a convivial lunch held at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club on 28 January. It was good to welcome Nathan Grills as a new member. He has injected new energy into our group and contributed some really excellent ideas for our fundraising. Sadly, that was the last in-person gathering that we could hold for the year. Four committee meetings have since then been held, all via zoom.

During the meeting on 22 April, we were able to establish contact with Dr Joy Mammen, Associate Director of the CMC, who brought us up to speed with developments in Vellore and particularly stressed the need to increase the availability of vaccination for the local area in which the College and the hospitals are situated. It was again not possible to hold any events this year because of the pandemic.

The focus again had to be on fund-raising, and it was decided that, just like in 2020, the Annual giving programme would engage in raising financial support for the CMC in its fight against the virus. It took place in two stages. Firstly, donations were sought for the COVID-19 emergency fund, which would enable the CMC to scale up the number of COVID and ICU beds for sick patients and also procure much needed equipment and medicines. During the second stage, responding to Dr Mammen?s call, the focus shifted to the Vaccination Vellore campaign which commenced under his leadership.

The response to our two appeals was massive and profoundly heart-warming. Strongly motivated by the alarming reports emanating from India, not only members of our Friends group, but also many other donors, including alumni, sought the opportunity to contribute, enabling the FOVV to raise more funds than ever before in its history (to our knowledge at least). More than $68,000 was raised in the two appeals, and when other donations to continuing projects such as the CLHTC and Scholarships are added, the total net funds raised for Vellore was $82,872. Donations continued to flow when the new financial year began in July. It should also be noted that quite a few Victorians also donated directly via the AVB website. All of this activity meant an intensely busy period for our treasurer Ken Gilbertson, who worked closely with the AVB to ensure that the donations were properly channelled, and the donors provided with receipts. Ken is most warmly to be thanked for his Herculean efforts.

In addition, every donor received a personal note of thanks from the FOVV. To this was later added the thank you letter that each donor received, together with a beautifully produced brochure, from the Director of the CMC, Dr J V Peter.

 Communication with our friends is more important than ever. As already noted last year, we have discontinued our newsletters and instead are sending out publicity emails via Mailchimp at regular intervals (but of course not too often). These emails contain links to other documents which provide more information. The whole process can be tracked via the application and the results have so far been encouraging.

The FOVV is also intensifying its project to build up contacts with local churches, including denominations with mainly members of Indian descent. My thanks go to Neil Champion for his invaluable work in this area of communication and to Viviane Harangozo for being a great sounding board and source of new ideas.

Although we are aware that it is not mandatory to audit our finances, the committee decided, given the large cash flow and on the recommendation of the treasurer, to again commission auditors to review the annual accounts. These are attached to this report.

Very recently Rev John Connan indicated that he wished to step down from his role on the committee. John, a former President of the AVB, has been associated with Vellore for nearly 60 years. His combination of wisdom and practicality will be greatly missed.

Once again there has been intensive contact with the Australian Vellore Board during the year. We express our thanks to the Board for its support, and especially to its tireless President, Dr Stephen Aseervatham.

It remains for me to thank the friends of Vellore in Victoria for their support and generosity during this second extraordinary pandemic year. In particular I wish to express my gratitude to the committee for all their commitment and hard work throughout the year.

We all continue to be inspired by the example of Dr Ida Scudder and the magnificent work carried out in the name of Christ that she set in motion in Southern India.

David Runia, President, Friends of Vellore Victoria




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