After dedicating 9 years of service to the charity’s Board, Graham Dick’s 3 year term as Vetlife President came to an end at the Vetlife Annual General Meeting on 7th September 2023. Fellow Board member and past BVA President James Russell was elected as the new President by Vetlife trustees.
Graham has volunteered a total of 9 years with Vetlife, including 3 years as Treasurer prior to his term as President.
During those 9 years the charity has undertaken a significant transformation. Graham chaired the Communications Committee which oversaw the rebrand and amalgamation of the Veterinary Benevolent Fund, Veterinary Surgeons’ Health Support Program and the Vet Helpline into what has become well known as Vetlife. He also spent a three-year term as the charity’s Treasurer throughout the covid pandemic. This extremely challenging time saw Helpline contacts reach their highest ever peak and fundraising income plummet. Graham’s support helped to safeguard the charity’s finances through this turbulent time, as Vetlife continued to be a lifeline for many in the veterinary community.
As Vetlife President, Graham was the driving force behind changes to the charity’s governing documents leading a review and update of the Articles of Association in 2022. These changes helped remould the charity to better meet the current needs of the veterinary community. The changes embraced the role of RVN’s, granting them the opportunity to become full members of the charity, stand for election as trustees and apply for Financial Support. There are now currently two RVN’s on the Vetlife Board.
Reflecting on his time as President, Graham said, “I am immensely proud to have been part of the transition of the former VBF to the Vetlife we have today. The veterinary community undoubtedly faces more challenges ahead. But I believe that, thanks to the strength and commitment of all those associated with Vetlife over the years, and with James Russell leading it forward as its new President, it is now even better placed to be there for those who reach out to it for support, both now and in the future.“
James is an assistant clinical professor in farm animal medicine at Nottingham University, where he also engages in wellbeing teaching, encouraging students to be able to thrive in their future workplaces.
As a trustee of 3 years and Chair of Vetlife Helpline, James has sought to continue to develop and support Vetlife’s brilliant network of volunteers, as well as promoting the charity at conferences, shows and through talks to students and to veterinary teams.
Looking forward to his term as President, James said, “I am hugely proud to be elected as President of this amazing charity. Graham has been a fantastic President who has led significant change in the Articles and professionalism of our charity, bringing it in line with the veterinary family it seeks to support. I know that I speak on behalf of all trustees when I say a hearty ‘Thank you’ for all his efforts and skill over the past 3 years as President, and a total of 9 years as a trustee.
I look forward to promoting the benefits of individual Vetlife membership and ensuring that we hand a charity to future trustees which is even more able to support the needs of, and give the care to, all members of our professions.”