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40 Years of Philanthropy

Dr Marjorie Barclay trustees Euan Wright, Nerissa Barber and Paul Barnett are delighted to announce that, 40 years after the death of Dunedin philanthropist Dr Marjorie Barclay, the charitable trust that bears her name has distributed grants now totalling over $6 525 000.

A cocktail event at Otago Museum on Friday 20 July, with Mayor Dave Cull presenting the 2018 grants, celebrates the life of Dr Marjorie Barclay and acknowledges the hard work and dedication of the professionals and volunteers specified as beneficiaries in Dr Marjorie Barclay’s will.

The beneficiaries of the Dr Marjorie Barclay Trust are: Otago Museum ($50 000), the Sisters of Mercy at Mercy Hospital ($50 000), the Order of St John ($45 000), Age Concern Otago ($40 000), Forest and Bird Otago ($45 000), the Blind Foundation ($45 000), the Otago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ($50 000), and the Pacific Leprosy Foundation ($25 000).

Dr Barclay also requested that her dear friend Professor Tom O'Donnell should make a nomination for the purpose of research into asthma. The late Professor O’Donnell’s nomination was the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research ($50 000).

Dr Barclay specified that, with the exception of the asthma research grant and the grant to the Pacific Leprosy Foundation, the charities which benefit under her Trust must be Otago-based and must spend the grants for the benefit of Otago. Grants are not to be used for day-to-day running expenses, but for additional projects or capital items.

Trustee Nerissa Barber says, “We are grateful for the foresight of Dr Marjorie Barclay in consultation with her lawyer, Paul Barber, for selecting these particular organisations. It is a real privilege to work with these charitable organisations who contribute so much to the community, and to work with their outstanding, dedicated staff and volunteers.”

Ruth Marjorie Cruickshank Barclay was born in 1899. She enrolled at the Otago Medical School near the end of the First World War where she studied for six years. She graduated in medicine in 1923, joining only a handful of women who had gained the qualification in New Zealand at that time. Marjorie Barclay decided on what was then an unusual speciality for a woman – diagnostic radiology, which was a relatively new field.

Marjorie went to Edinburgh to train and received her Diploma of Radiology in 1927. She then embarked upon further study in Vienna and Boston, pursuing her interest in diseases of the chest and the latest radiological methods of diagnosis. In 1931, she was appointed diagnostic radiologist to the Otago Hospital Board and also lectured at the University of Otago Medical School. Marjorie held these positions until 1942 when she resigned to take up private practice in Dunedin.

Dr Barclay travelled extensively and passed away in Dunedin in 1978. Dr Barclay did not marry and bequeathed her estate to form the Dr Marjorie Barclay Trust.

The current trustees also acknowledge the commercial acumen of the three original trustees and advisors to Dr Barclay: Ross Skinner; Bill Cowan and Judge Paul Barber.