Mrs Neilsen’s passion for education and love for rural communities was recognised through the establishment of the Winchester Foundation. A Foundation to assist many to achieve their dreams by creating educational opportunities for country children who may not have otherwise been able to fulfil their ambitions. A truly remarkable soul will be forever remembered and live on in the work Winchester Scholarships carries out to keep Mrs Neilsen’s dream alive.
Since the inaugural scholarships awarded by the Winchester Foundation in 2012, the recipients have grown to an astounding number of 1,403 recipients in 2023. Scholarships range from secondary schooling to tertiary education and bridge the gap for young people living in rural and regional areas
of Queensland, to give them the same educational opportunities as their urban counterparts. The Foundation has assisted many recipients, from graduating secondary education through to university, with a variety of degrees from veterinary science, medicine, engineering, physiotherapy, nursing, occupational therapy and speech therapy, to name a few.
Many of these students graduate and return to regional areas to give back to their communities. Scholarship recipients will be forever grateful for the opportunity they have been given by Mrs Neilsen
and Winchester Scholarships. To scholarship recipients, may you all continue to have a lifelong association with the Foundation and in doing so, help to realise a lasting memento to Mr and Mrs Neilsen.
The Winchester Foundation is also responsible for supporting many hundreds of students from twenty-two schools to attend the annual Whitsunday Voices Literacy Festival in Mackay. The Voices Festival
gives students the opportunity to interact and meet with well-known authors and develop a love of reading and writing.
Mrs Beryl Neilsen has been a prominent part, and valuable friend of ICPA Qld since the Winchester Foundation’s initial sponsorship of the 2014 State Conference which the Belyando / Mt Coolon ICPA
branch hosted in Townsville.
The Foundation has travelled far and wide to support these events since the conference in Townsville
and it was always a joy to see Mrs Neilsen attend so she could follow proceedings and advocate
for rural and remote education, with interest. Mrs Neilsen was awarded an ICPA Qld Certificate
of Appreciation at the Charters Towers Conference in 2019 for her continued support.
Mrs Nielsen’s dedication and support of rural and remote families was recognised in 2021in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list when she was a recipient of an Order of Australia medal. I think we can sum up our own OAM for Beryl as she was O – One of a kind, A – Amazing, M – Mentor to so many.
Mrs Nielsen was a beautiful, kind-hearted person who gave so generously to rural and remote children so they could be successful in their educational endeavours.
Rest in Peace, Mrs Beryl Neilsen. Your light will forever shine bright in all the lives you have touched.