Sir Don Beaven
Prof Beaven returned to Christchurch in 1959, after two years in Boston USA under a Fulbright Scholarship. He assumed the position of senior physician with the North Canterbury Hospital Board, responsible for the teaching of sixth year trainee medical interns from the University of Otago. He also became director of what was initially known as the ‘Full Time Medical Unit’ based at the recently opened Princess Margaret Hospital.
Don was encouraged by the Medical Research Council of New Zealand to take steps to form a Medical Research Foundation in Canterbury, following the successful establishment of the Auckland Medical Research Foundation two years earlier. He consulted his uncle, the late Alan Reed, a senior partner in the Christchurch legal firm Wynn Williams and Co, on how he should set about achieving this. The advice was to form a steering committee of prominent citizens of the City, the University of Canterbury, and leading community organizations, and that he should ensure their ranks include an accountant and a lawyer.
As a chartered accountant Athol Mann was seconded to the Board as was the late Tony Hearn, a partner in the firm Weston, Ward and Lascelles, agreeing to provide legal advice and services.
Others involved from the outset were Dr Leslie Averill, Chairman of the North Canterbury Hospital Board, who’s unfailing support saw him became the first President of the Foundation. R C (Sam) Neville from the Chamber of Commerce, became the first Chairman of the Executive along with prominent Rotarian Ray Newton and John Bradley from the Manufacturers Association. Incorporation was completed in 1960.