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Multi-million boost for Wyre Forest young doctors
MORE than £2 million has been set aside to help budding Wyre Forest doctors who want to follow in the footsteps of three legendary surgeons from Kidderminster.
The John Weston Stretton Charity, set up in memory of John Weston Stretton, his father John Lionel Stretton and grandfather Samuel Stretton, will grant individual district students £2,000 bursaries each year to help them through medical school.
This will part-fund a number of students each year for all six years’ of medical training at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry – where the Stretton doctors were educated – or Cambridge University.
Money and instructions to set up the charity were left by John Weston’s son Antony who died in 2010 but did not follow the family tradition in medicine.
Speaking exclusively to The Shuttle, chairman of trustees Dr Richard Taylor described the charity as “unique for a district of this size to have this amount of money to do this”.
“This will be a tremendous help,” the former Wyre Forest MP added. “It is hard to get into medical school in any case but the £2,000 a year could actually make it possible for people who, otherwise, would not be able to consider medical training in Cambridge or London.”
Trustees, including Conservative councillor Anne Hingley and King Charles I School headteacher Tim Gulliver, will prioritise Wyre Forest students and also consider those living in the district but educated elsewhere. The number of students who will be accepted each year is yet to be decided but it is hoped eventually 24 people will be supported annually.
Currently, yearly loans can help learners pay for £9,000 tuition fees and £7,500 London living costs but the National Union of Students puts the average yearly expenditure for students in London at £23,521.
The Strettons were highlyregarded Kidderminster doctors and dominated the medical scene in the town for almost a century from 1856.
They were the driving force behind the founding of the town’s Mill Street-based hospital in 1871, where they served for a total of 95 years between them.
They all held the position of honorary surgeon in Kidderminster among other roles.
In the early 1900s John Lionel discovered mixing iodine with water sterilised the skin, allowing safer medical procedures to take place – now a standard practice worldwide.
Lawyer Jim Quinn, of MFG Solicitors, acting as clerk to the trustees, said: “Their legacy is strong and to have the charity in place not only cements that legacy but allows us to support the education of future medical students from Wyre Forest.”
For more information about funding, contact the charity, based at Adam House, Birmingham Road, on 01562 820181.
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