“I believe that supporting students undertaking higher education courses is investing in Australia’s future”
By Dr Peter Helson
I initially learned about the Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) from an advertisement in the Vietnam Veterans’ Association’s magazine. I visited AVCAT’s website and found it was easy to donate to what I consider to be a very worthwhile initiative. After sending annual donations for a few years I decided to fund a scholarship.. I was pleased that the AVCAT staff were able to select a great recipient for this scholarship.
My scholarship was awarded to Corey, who is progressing very successfully through a double degree in International Relations and Information and Communication Technology. Despite his high academic workload, Corey’s results have been outstanding, and I am very impressed with his achievements.
I funded an AVCAT scholarship for a few reasons—I started my own university studies late in life and became very enthusiastic about the benefits of higher education as a means of gaining knowledge in areas that interested me, and for improving employment prospects. I hope the scholarship will help others in this way.
I realise that there are many problems within Australian society and, for financial reasons, there are many keen and intelligent people who are unable to afford to gain higher education. It is therefore my intention to try, in a very small way, to help someone get an education that, without the scholarship, would be unobtainable. Having close family ties to the Defence forces was another reason for supporting AVCAT.
While I have not been a member of the Defence Services I have close family connections to them. Two of my great uncles were members of the 1st AIF and were engaged in the fighting on the Western Front, in France, during the Great War. My father volunteered for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Second World War and was deployed to Morotai and Tarakan islands during the Oboe operations. My uncle was a member of the Australian Army and fought on the Kokoda Track in 1942. My wife retired recently, as a Wing Commander, after completing 32 years of service with the RAAF.
I would certainly encourage people to support AVCAT—either in the form of a cash donation or sponsoring a scholarship. I believe that supporting students undertaking higher education courses is investing in Australia’s future.
Dr Peter Helson is author of ‘The Private Air Marshal: the autobiography of Air Marshal Sir George Jones KB’