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Violet Elizabeth Frankland MOORE

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

Mr Chancellor, as this Congregation will be fully aware, the United Nations has designated 1975 as "International Women's Year". It is thus most fitting that this University should today be paying tribute to two remarkable women, both of whom have rendered invaluable service to Hong Kong and to the Chinese people. Two events may be said to have aroused in Elizabeth Frankland Moore that compelling urge to help others which has been the hallmark of her life. The first was the tragic accident which blinded her father; the second was her passage to India where she was to spend seven eventful years, travelling extensively, often living in areas where there were no other Europeans - fortunately she spoke Hindustani - and where she came to understand the problems and privations of abject poverty. It is hardly surprising, given her common sense and compassion, that on her return to England in 1934 her first committee work was as Honorary Secretary of the International Family Planning Association, then in its infancy. Subsequently, she was invited to join the political staff of Mr Lloyd George. This provided her with rare experience, putting to the test that organizational capacity for which she has so pronounced a flair. Later she became the Political Secretary to Miss Eleanor Rathbone, Independent Member of Parliament for the Combined Universities. Miss Rathbone was heavily involved with work for refugees, of whom there were no less than 40,000 in Britain alone at the onset of the Second World War. Mrs. Frankland Moore rapidly buried herself in this work, taking an active part in the Central Council for World Refugees, and, overcoming all obstacles, securing the repatriation of 4,000 Basque children to Spain before the intense bombardment of the United Kingdom began.

It was in the early summer of 1942 that Mrs. Frankland Moore first became associated with China, when she was recruited by Lady, later Dame Isobel, Cripps, as the organizing secretary of the British United Aid to China Fund. This was intended as a token of friendship and sympathy from the people of Great Britain to the people of China, an ally who sorely needed comfort. But British United Aid to China was much more than a mere gesture. Thanks to Lady Cripps and Mrs. Frankland Moore, the closest of colleagues, the appeal reached into every corner of the land. At their behest, orchestras played, the acting profession performed, the churches preached. City Fathers, trade unionists, school children, all contributed to the fund. Nearly three million pounds - in those bleak days, no inconsiderable sum - was raised for relief and rehabilitation in China. A steady flow of money, medical equipment, drugs, and clothes was dispatched. Chinese schools, colleges, hospitals, and universities received urgently needed supplies, and many a Hong Kong refugee, including undergraduates from our own University, benefited from this timely assistance.

Shortly after the conclusion of hostilities in the Far East the Chinese Government extended an invitation to Lady Cripps and Mrs. Frankland Moore to visit the country to which they had devoted so much energy. The resultant journey covered some 30,000 miles by air, road, boat, and truck. Great cities and small villages were seen. The institutions they had helped during the War were toured and the two ladies were cordially welcomed by all China's leaders. Indeed, so encouraged were they by their reception and by the evidence of the efficacy of their wartime efforts that they returned to London resolved to continue those links already forged. The result was the establishment in 1947 of the Sino-British Fellowship Trust. The initial objectives of this private trust were modest, necessarily so as the funds available were very limited. At first it was considered that the Trust could do no more than enable Chinese actually in Britain who, for one reason or another, were in financial difficulties, to complete their studies before returning to their homeland, there to put to use their new-found skills. However, through the shrewd husbandry of Major Charles Frankland Moore, with his City connections and his financial expertise, the Sino-British Fellowship Trust prospered and its activities expanded accordingly. It was now possible to embark on an ambitious programme of awarding scholarships and grants in aid to postgraduates of Chinese origin to further their studies in the United Kingdom. Mrs Frankland Moore as the Honorary Secretary and a Trustee of the Trust was, and is, emphatic that it should not only provide the means whereby returned scholars would enrich their home territory, be it Hong Kong, Fiji, or Malaysia, but that it should also serve the cause of international understanding. Over the years, Hong Kong, a traditional meeting place of East and West, has produced over 100 of the nearly 350 Trust scholars; men and women, their intellectual horizons widened and their professional qualifications enhanced, who have made a contribution to our society wholly disproportionate to their number. Mrs. Frankland Moore's wartime endeavours were recognized when she was invested with the Order of the Brilliant Star of China. Later she was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire, both for the leading role she had played in the Sino-British Fellowship Trust and for her labours for the young and the old, the disabled and the diseased. Mr Chancellor, I request that you bestow on Violet Elizabeth Frankland Moore the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws as an expression of Hong Kong's gratitude.

Citation written and delivered by Mr Hugh David Turner, BA, MLitt, the Public Orator of the University.

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