Graduates and University staff outside the Liverpool Cathedral

Rosemary Hawley MBE

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Honorable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Rosemary Hawley MBE for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.  

Rosemary Hawley is a long standing and highly valued supporter of Liverpool John Moores University who completed a 9-year term of office on our Board of Governors earlier this year. 

We are pleased to acknowledge her outstanding contribution to the University but we also wish to acknowledge her wider and very significant contribution to the communities on Merseyside over almost 25 years.  

She has held and continues to hold numerous leadership roles in the public and voluntary sectors, and not least the NHS, and has carried out these roles with great distinction.   

Rosemary was born to Robert and Joan Brunt in New Delhi where her father was General Manager of Burmah Oil. After a happy and comfortable early childhood in India, the family moved back to England where Rosemary continued her education at Lady Eleanor Holles School for Girls in SW London, where the headmistress, a strong advocate of feminism, made a deep and lasting impression. 

She flourished academically and progressed to King's College London where she studied English. After graduation, Rosemary was thrown in at the deep end when she was posted by VSO to Winneba in Ghana to teach English at a teacher's training college. She rose to the challenge, gaining invaluable experience which was used to good effect on her return to the UK. 

First she worked with a community organisation in South Wales and then moved to Wolverhampton where she met Anthony Hawley, a curate who was working in an urban priority parish. Rosemary and Anthony married and Anthony took up a position in another priority parish in the Southwark diocese, and Rosemary continued her involvement with the community: working for the Bermondsey Community Health Council and then becoming a board member of Guy's Hospital.  

In the 1980s the Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard, persuaded them to come to the parish of Kirkby, another area of high need, and they were there for 17 eventful years until Anthony became Canon Treasurer of this Cathedral in 2002. Rosemary remembers Kirkby with affection, recalling the warmth of the people and the life-long friendships and connections they made there.    

Having heard good reports about Rosemary's work at Guy's Hospital, the Chair of Merseyside Regional Health Authority Sir Donald Wilson persuaded her to join the Board in the mid-1980s and her association with the NHS has continued ever since: with Liverpool Family Health Services Authority, then Chair of North Mersey Community NHS Trust and currently, Chair of Knowsley Primary Care Trust.   

In the mid-90s Rosemary joined the board of the prestigious Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and as Chair of the board from 2003, led a thorough review of the governance arrangements: her legacy is to have put in place a way of working which is fit for the 21st Century. In addition to the above NHS-related activity, Rosemary has undertaken many other public duties over the years:  She is a Director of Blackburne House Centre for Women, she is a committee member of Mersey Common Purpose, she is a Trustee of Community Spirit which works mainly in Liverpool 8 and a Trustee of The Merseyside branch of the Community Foundation. 

She is a Magistrate, a role she finds interesting and at times frustrating, she served as High Sheriff of Merseyside 2 years ago, a role which required, according to Rosemary, lots of eating and lots of swearing - of oaths, that is. 

And this year she completed her 9-year term as a Governor of Liverpool John Moores University.  

Pro Vice-Chancellor Alison Wild recalls that: Rosemary's contribution to the Board was characterised by total commitment, enormous flexibility & accessibility and unerring and failsafe judgement of the issues, particularly sensitive ones. Underpinning all this was Rosemary's passion for education, and her utter belief in LJMU's Mission and what it is trying to achieve. She was a model Governor in every way.  

Rosemary's public-spiritedness, particularly in relation to her service to the NHS, was acknowledged when she was awarded an MBE for services to healthcare in Merseyside in 2007. And in 1997, she was one of the first recipients of the Duncan Society's Duncan Medal which is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the public health and well-being of the community.  

Rosemary Hawley has a record of outstanding public service, taking effective leadership roles in a variety of organisations, many of which are connected in some way with public health. Having served as a NED with Rosemary when she was chair of North Mersey Community Trust, I can well understand why she is so successful. 

She has first-class leadership qualities, being a consummate professional who leads by example, a natural team player, always familiar with her brief, always inclusive and always supportive whilst being able to inspire high standards of performance from her directors. 

I also know that Rosemary is somewhat uncomfortable about people singing her praises, but such lack of self-importance is much to her credit, and makes her all the more worthy of receiving acknowledgement from the University today.  

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Rosemary Hawley, this most distinguished adopted daughter of our city, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.