Citation for Lady Estelle Wolfson
It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to give this oration and propose Lady Estelle Wolfson for an Honour and a Doctorate in Liverpool University. She has been a central figure in generous philanthropic support in medicine and healthcare for more than 30 years, firstly with her late husband Leonard Wolfson for the Wolfson Foundation and, since 2012, with the charity she has chaired and run – the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Foundation – in memory of her husband who had died two years earlier.
It is perhaps not surprising that she has a strong interest and understanding of health matters given the tragic brain damage sustained by her first child Jonathan at birth and then the loss of her first husband from cancer when she was only 39. She was left with three young children, two of them here today, Antoinette and Edward. She took up voluntary work at the Royal Free Hospital…..but her life was to change just five years later when she met and married Leonard Wolfson.
She has done so much since for the welfare of others and it is so fitting we are making her an Honorary Doctor today. Her Fellowships of Academic and Medical organisations are too many to enumerate and she has the Freedom of the City of London, but I don’t think she has a doctorate before. While we would have loved to get Estelle to Liverpool for the award, the logistics were just too difficult – but Liverpool has come to you, Estelle, in the shape of an Honorary Scouser of 43 years myself, and a true born and bred Liverpudlian, Professor Louise Kenney, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences at the University of Liverpool. It is also fitting that the ceremony should be here at a place that has benefitted so much from your hard work and support, Estelle.
She has been a Trustee of the Royal College of Physicians; she has worked with the College in advancing the role of women in healthcare and emerging women leaders. One of the women leaders celebrated at an exhibition here was Professor Dame Margaret Whitehead, from the University, a pioneer in our understanding of Health Inequalities. Also, from next year there is to be an RCP Lady Wolfson Annual Lecture in Translational Medicine – bringing medical research breakthroughs to the bedside for the benefit of patients.
We have here today a young researcher from the University, Dimitrios Charalampopoulos, who has real reason to be grateful to Lady Wolfson and her Foundation, as they have funded his Lectureship in wellbeing within the School of Public Health.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Council and the Senate of this University, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in this University, Lady Estelle Wolfson.