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THE TEAM

The Board of Trustees and the Fundraiser

The George Hospital Trust has onboard four committed people who share the absolute determination for improving the quality of health services in the George District of the Western Cape in South Africa. Rev Michiel Burger (previous chairperson of the hospital board), Michael Vonk (CEO: George Hospital) Brenda Vorster (CEO: George Airport) and the esteemed pioneer cardiac surgeon, professor emeritus Robert Frater, are united in their efforts to create new, badly needed facilities for the paediatric and neo-natal wards.

Blyth Thompson, who served on the hospital board, serves as ardent fund-raiser for the George Hospital Trust Fund.

Below also find a list of previous online publications in the George Herald that could also be published on this page.

Blyth Thompson – Fundraiser for the George Hospital Trust
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MICHIEL DANIEL BURGER

Michiel Burger is the chairperson of the George Hospital Trust. He was born in East London on 18th August 1959.  As well as being an all-round sportsman he obtained a first-class matric with University Exemption at the C R Swart High School in Pretoria in 1977.

In the three subsequent years, he obtained a BA degree at the University of Pretoria, then went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Theology while serving as the sub-editor of news for the University of Stellenbosch’s newspaper ‘’Die Matie’’, and representing the University at squash.

Thereafter Dominee Burger served cross-culturally as a Minister of Religion in Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, George, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay.  His Ministry was supported by 30 DRC congregations across the Southern Cape and led to the formation of five fully-fledged independent Xhosa congregations in these areas.

His faith found expression in his concern for the welfare of his fellow human beings. This led to his founding and chairing, many outreach projects associated with education and hospitalization.  Amongst others he was a co-founder of Bethesda, an NPO company with a current budget of R12 million, serving the poor, destitute and the sick in these communities with its staff of 135 full-time employees with best practice awards from both the Department of Health and Social Services.

During 2009 Michiel Burger received the prestigious San Parks Kudu Award on behalf of Outeniqua Eco Honey (Pty) Ltd from Minister Sonjika at Gallagher Estate in Gauteng, in recognition of Best Community Contribution (Group).

He was the Deputy Chairperson of Outeniqua High and chairperson of Parent/Teacher Association. He has also chaired the George South Primary School Management Board. It culminated in the Chairmanship of the George Hospital Health Facility Board and of the George Hospital Trust.

From 2017 to the end of February 2019 Michiel and Louise, worked in South Korea in order to meet the cost of the tertiary education of their four daughters, where they taught English, speaking, writing and listening and biology, physics, and chemistry, following the Cambridge syllabus, to prepare young people in South Korea to enter the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. Thereafter they returned home to South Africa to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild.

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BLYTH METCALF THOMPSON

Following a successful school career academically in the Eastern Province and as an all-round sportsman, he eventually matriculated at Bishops in the first class with distinction in English in 1946.

He was subsequently admitted to Rhodes University in Grahamstown, where, as a part time student, he achieved in 1953 a BA degree with distinction in politics, represented the University at Rugby Cricket and Tennis and was Chairman of the Students Union.

Following the unexpected death of his father in 1953, he ran the family farm Waterdale until it was expropriated for the Xhosa Royal Family.

Thereafter he was admitted to Queens College, Oxford, as a senior student and obtained a Master’s degree in Jurisprudence.

At that time South Africa was excluded from the British Commonwealth and Blyth became heavily involved assisting the South African Embassy in public lectures, television and debates, culminating in an invitation to address the House of Lords. He was then elected Chairman of the South Africa Society, in which capacity he toured the USA speaking on South Africa under the sponsorship of Lord Lilford of Lancashire.
He returned to South Africa in 1963 where he has successfully promoted a series of shopping centres and eventually became Chairman of Deansgate an old age retirement organisation. During his chairmanship Deansgate was considerably enlarged and overcame the financial difficulties occasioned by the withdrawal of subsidies by the Government.

He moved to the Kingswood Estate in George with his wife Wendy in 2011 and now believes that the success of any government in South Africa depends in large part on the solvency and success of its public institutions of which George Hospital is a prime example.
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MICHAEL FREDERIK VONK

With his senior staff the versatile Michael Vonk, a counselling psychologist of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, has set a high standard of health care for the George Hospital which is owned by the South African Government and situated in the city of George. On account of its excellence the world famous medical school of the University of Cape Town chose to adopt George Hospital as an additional teaching hospital.

Michael brings to the board of George Hospital a much focused repertoire of education and experience. His matriculation exemption from the Joint Matriculation Board was obtained at the famous Anglican Church School, St Johns College in Johannesburg in 1991.

Over the next decade he accumulated three degrees in Social Science at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) of which both the Honours degree in Psychology (1997) and Masters in Counselling (2001) were awarded cum laude. In addition he passed with distinction the diploma in Human Resource Management offered by the Damelin Management School.

The practical application of his skills as a counselling psychologist began as an intern in the Student Counselling Centre of Natal University in 1999. Thereafter the young Michael sought experience overseas. He became the Project Manager of a Dental Cliinical Audit and Peer Review across five counties in the United Kingdom. This was followed by two years( 2002-2004)in Ipswich Hospital as project manager of Cancer Services; a period as service manager in General Surgery, Urology and special surgery (04/2004 – 09/2006); Deputy Director Operational Management, Volkenberg Hospital Observatory, Cape Town.  (05/2007 – 01/2008); Deputy Divisional Manager Surgery, head and neck University Hospitals, Bristol NHS.  Foundation Trust Bristol (03/2008 – 03/2011) and finally Chief Executive Office George Hospital in the City of George, Western Cape, South Africa (04/2011 – to current date).

In addition Michael’s overall concern and passion to serve the community extends to the National Sea Rescue Institute in which he is a Deputy Station Commander of the Wilderness Station 23 on the Garden Route close to George.  He also represents George Hospital on the George Business Chamber.   

He aims to achieve better systems of governance (both clinical and corporate) and to create greater value by helping the community achieve the highest standard in health care in the Eden Community which includes a number of satellite hospitals attached to the George Hospital.
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BRENDA VORSTER

Brenda was born in Durban, and has been working for ACSA the Airports Company for the past 23 years. She is married to Marlon and they have one daughter.

She moved to George Airport 10 years ago, where she holds the position of Regional Airport Manager, during which time she has won 6 international Awards and successfully put George (the Garden Route) on the Map.  George Airport, thanks to her hard work in Africa boasts the first Solar Airport and 2nd in the world.

The airport has grown from 350,000 to over 800,000 passengers with further increases expected at the end of the 2019 financial year.

She is currently completing her MBA and has a BBA degree (an understanding of the business and management environments by developing of intellectual ability, executive personality, and managerial skills) across a wide area of key business courses,

She mentors and coaches’ young leaders on how to deliver, maintain and sustain future transformation as well as empowerment of her staff.  This includes promoting the attendance of her entire staff on an MDP program through Nelson Mandela University in George.

She has made a large impact on the George community with many outreach projects, and is particularly passionate about developing women and children and is past President of the Phambili Refuge for abused women and children.

She is Vice President of the George Business Chamber and a Trustee of the George Hospital Trust.
She lives by the motto: You only die once, so live every day”
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PROFESSOR ROBERT WILLIAM MAYO FRATER

The famous Cape School Bishops, has inaugurated a new award, the Bishop Gray medal, named after one of the founders of a hundred and seventy years ago.  The award goes to an old boy of the school for outstanding achievement in the interests of the community.

Professor Robert William Mayo Frater, inter alia a trustee of the George Hospital Trust, was the first to receive this magnificent honour in the spacious Bishops chapel that is the central focus of the senior school,  on Friday, 1st March 2019.

After an exceptional school career, starting at the Bishops Preparatory School in 1937, Professor Frater, the head prefect of Ogilvie House who had been captain of tennis and a member of the First Rugby XV matriculated in the First class in 1946 winning the West Jones Scholarship to study medicine at the University of Cape Town, where he qualified with a First Class in Surgery.

In 1955 he was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom and subsequently took up a Fellowship in Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where he decided to specialise in the then new field of cardio thoracic surgery.  He continued his research specialising in the repair of diseased mitral vales, using autologous pericardial patches and was the first to install a prosthesis for a defective aortic valve into a human being using a pig’s valve.

In 1964 he took charge of the new Open Heart Operations Department at the prestigious Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, which he built from scratch to the point where graduates from their clinical training programmes and research fellowships became chiefs of surgery at their respective hospitals around the world.

Over a 50 year period Professor Frater pioneered various life saving techniques for which he was declared the outstanding alumnus of the Mayo Clinic, the highest honour attainable in the medical profession in the United States of America. In fact his parents before him were both doctors at Mayo where they met.

Professor Frater with his exceptionally artistic wife, Elaine has always loved South Africa where they keep a holiday home in the Southern Cape.  After retirement he formed the company Glycar based in Irene, which produces bovine heart patches used to repair diseased heart valves in humans. He has also formed an association with the University of The Free State, where he is involved with a wide variety of projects and has been recognised with an honorary PhD crowned now at the age of 90 by his old school Bishops that he loves with the Bishop Gray Medal.
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