As I was finalising my talk for the ACCYPN conference last week I was reflecting on how far we have come in the care of children and young people in healthcare since AWCH was established in 1973. I was thinking of the dedicated and motivated individuals who came together to establish AWCH and drive change in the psychosocial wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare, when I received the sad news of Dr Graham Bench’s death.
Graham was a well known and much loved paediatrician of over 50 years. His involvement with AWCH began in 1975 and he held various positions within the organisation over the past 40 years. Notably he was treasurer to Quentin Bryce’s Presidency and was made an Honorary Life member of AWCH and was appointed an AWCH Ambassador in 2010 in recognition of the incredible contribution he made to AWCH. Graham wrote the original AWCH Constitution and took on the role of visiting speaker to various organisations and fundraising for AWCH. As recently as only a few months ago Graham was speaking about the work of AWCH at a local club.
Graham has been a significant part of so many of AWCH’s achievements and he sums this up nicely in his own words,
“……my greatest thoughts about the work of AWCH are how much the wards in children’s hospitals have changed, how the whole attitude towards children in hospital has improved and thus lessened the psychological trauma that they suffer by being hospitalised and in particular our very wonderful establishment of the AWCH Ward Granny Scheme…..”
Testimonial from Dr Graham Bench AWCH lifetime member and AWCH Ambassador on the 40th anniversary of AWCH.
On behalf of AWCH I would like to thank Graham for his tireless and outstanding contribution to improving the wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare across Australia for over 50 years – you will be remembered by so many with much affection and admiration.