About the TWJ Foundation
The TWJ Foundation was registered as a charity on 14th March 1974 through the generosity of Mrs. Lilian Wickham Higgs and her son Thomas. Mrs. Higgs herself was deaf and in recognition of her disability the Foundation was set up in the name of her father Thomas Wickham-Jones (“TWJ”, 1847-1929). His success as a City of London wharfinger was largely instrumental in funding the TWJ Foundation.
The Higgs Charitable Trust was to fund the TWJ Foundation. Its trustees have indeed acted from the outset as TWJ’s greatest benefactors and the TWJ Foundation continues to be most grateful to them for their generosity.
Patrick Hunter Jobson, a Consultant in Otorhinolaryngology, who had married one of TWJ’s grand-daughters, became the Foundation’s first Executive Chairman. David Wright, his Consultant colleague, was co-founder and instrumental in arranging overseas Fellowships in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Pat gave his time and talents unstintingly during the first 20 years when so much was achieved until his death in 1994. Since then his ideals have been continued through his successors David Wright, David Proops and Martin Bailey.
The TWJ Foundation’s specific aim is to help patients with deafness overcome their handicap. To achieve this goal the Foundation offers research and educational grants to otolaryngologists and other related audiological professionals working in the British National Health Service.
The Foundation hopes to generate clinical interest and research in clinical otology and audiology on a national scale. More than fifty per cent of British otologists have been benefited in some way from having a TWJ grant and it is the aim of the Foundation to continue to reach as many young otologists in training as possible from all parts of the British Isles.
The TWJ Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1979 and its 40th Anniversary in 2014 by holding dinners in the Skinners’ Hall in the City of London, which were attended by many of the 180 previous TWJ Fellows who had received a major grant.
So far the Trustees have distributed close to one million pounds on major fellowships and other grants to consultants, trainees, audiologists, audiometricians and hearing therapists during more than 40 years of TWJ activity.
Trainees now recognise that to hold a TWJ Fellowship is an achievement to be proud of and that this privileged work experience in a major international academic department often leads to a future career in otology.
Understandably the major educational grants to trainees make up the larger part of our awards each year, but the Trustees have given their support to many other aspects of otology and audiology in order to achieve the Foundation’s aim:
- Grants to audiologists and hearing therapists in the development of tinnitus clinics through the Michael Cook Tinnitus Fund, which is managed by the TWJ Foundation. This Fund was endowed by the family of Michael Cook, a tinnitus sufferer, to be used specifically for the relief of tinnitus.
- Funds for paediatric audiology and research into otitis media with effusion.
- Promoting teamwork between neuro-otologists and neuro-surgeons for lateral skull base surgery.
- Contributions to research projects in British ENT institutions and academic centres.
- Provision of TWJ thesis grants.
- Support for trainees to attend ear camps in Nepal, Thailand and Ethiopia.
- Providing out-patient microscopes in under-funded clinics in the UK.
- Support of the Department of Health Team to evaluate cochlear implants in 1978.
The Trustees are well aware that the TWJ Foundation could not have succeeded without the help and goodwill of many colleagues and friends:
- Special mention must be given to the Higgs Charitable Trust which provides a substantial part of our income each year. We have had a very happy relationship with their Trustees, which we hope will continue in the years to come.
- Mention must also be made of the generous bequests from the Jobson Foundation and the Frocester Trust, which have substantially added to the TWJ Foundation’s capital and thus to our investment income.
- The Trustees remain hugely grateful to our overseas hosts past and present who have shown so much interest in our Fellows, and have given freely of their time to impart some of their considerable experience for the benefit of our Fellows.
- In particular we would like to pay tribute and offer our thanks to Professor Merzenich (San Francisco); Professor Graham, Professor Telian and Professor Miller (Ann Arbor); Professor Nedzelski; Professor Hawke and Professor Rutka (Toronto); Professor Sellars (Cape Town); Professor Nadal (Boston); Professor Cotton (Cincinnati); Professor Atlas and Professor Coates (Perth); Dr Briggs and Professor Shepherd (Melbourne); Professor Neeff (Auckland); Professor Morris (Halifax); Professor Jean Bernard Causse and Professor Vincent (Béziers); Professor Mulder (Nijmegen) and Professor Offeciers (Antwerp), as well as many other senior colleagues in Australia and Europe who have also given their time and support to pass on their skills.
- We would also like to thank our many consultant colleagues in the UK who have demonstrated their support by encouraging their trainees to spend time overseas and for acting as referees.
- We are most grateful to senior colleagues who have acted as assessors in the selection of Fellows, namely Leslie Salmon, Robin MacNab-Jones, Valentine Hammond, Harold Ludman and John Evans.
- There are many who have helped the Foundation’s objectives progress by giving financial support, often with personal covenants, and the Trustees are most grateful to them all.
- Finally we must thank our secretaries, Jane Sharp, Karen Wright and Lidija Ivnik, who over the years have given their energy unstintingly and with good humour.
President of the TWJ Foundation