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Scholarship ‘nice way’ to honour Meg Purser’s legacy: Nelmes


Meg Purser left an indelible mark on the Newcastle, and wider Hunter, community.

Best remembered for her charitable and behind the scenes work for organisations, such as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Hunter Breast Care Foundation and Got Your Back Sister, she also served on many boards and committees over two decades, including the Hunter Manufacturing Awards, Newcastle Business Club and WEA Hunter.

Sadly, the prominent businesswoman passed away in January 2021 following an 18-month battle with breast cancer.

However, she continues to make a valuable contribution to future generations, via City of Newcastle’s (CN) Meg Purser Communications Scholarship.

And, it’s a bequest that’s close to the heart of Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

“I worked with Meg for the whole time I’ve been on council,” she said.

“Particularly, while in the role of Lord Mayor.

“She was an amazing communications professional.

“But, that title doesn’t do her justice in her actual understanding of the local community, the business community, the needs of government and the private sector.

“Meg also ran a small venture that was always training, employing students straight out of university, particularly young women, giving them a go and mentoring them through the industry and into the media.

“In fact, her experience and expertise were second to none.

“She was a go-to person for everyone in the city and I’d confidently say her shoes haven’t been filled.

“So, the Meg Purser Communications Scholarship is a nice gesture to honour her legacy.

“It’s one way to ensure each year there’s an opportunity for a woman working in that industry, who needs support.

“The applicants are all individually assessed by the University of Newcastle… we just provide the financial backing.”

Meg Purser Communications Scholarship recipient Rhoyce Nova. Photo: Rod Thompson

In 2023, the recipient is Rhoyce Nova, following in the footsteps of aspiring journalist Courtney Yeandle, who was the inaugural beneficiary.

“I’m incredibly honoured and extremely grateful,” she said.

“I’ve been reading about Meg; she was a very inspiring woman.

“I would’ve loved to have met her in person.

“And, to find out I’m the second recipient of the scholarship in her name, I’m humbled to receive it.”

Ms Nova admitted her passion in media production was writing and directing.

“I’d like to write and direct films that really matter,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“My particular interest is mental health and homelessness across the board, but specifically in the LGBTQIA+ community, and racial justice.

“They are the areas I really want to make films about.

“What this scholarship will enable me to do is sit at home and write more.

“We’re just about to release a short film, called Say My Name, into festivals.

“I made it with Dr Mel Baker and it’s based on her book, Sleeping Under the Bridge.

“It is about her time as a young teenager living on the streets of Sydney.

“I really hope it resonates with audiences and brings a lot of attention to the issue of homelessness, not just in this country but throughout the world.”

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Scholarships also went to Madison Innis and Lara Mackay.

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