University leader’s lofty feat benefits youth trust

Heights do not bother David Murdoch.

What does bother him is the thought of a sudden stop at the bottom.

The University of Otago vice-chancellor was one of 50 Dunedin "bosses" who participated in the Toss the Boss fundraiser at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday, where they had to abseil 35m from the roof to the field below.

"Heights don’t particularly bother me — as long as I’m securely attached to something of course," Prof Murdoch said.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof David Murdoch comes to a gentle stop following a 35m...
University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof David Murdoch comes to a gentle stop following a 35m abseil from the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium to the field below. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

"I’ve abseiled and parachuted before, so I was looking forward to this. There were naturally a few nerves, but it was great once I was under way."

The fact it was something he enjoyed, along with the fact it was for such a worthy cause, had meant it was not a difficult decision to take the plunge.

"The trust does extremely valuable work and has very similar beliefs and aims to the university — we both work to empower young people and believe that they can make a difference."

The event aimed to raise $30,000 for the Malcam Charitable Trust, which is a youth not-for-profit agency offering a range of programmes in the Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki areas.

The trust uses activity-based learning, real-life scenarios and youth-led activities to be able to promote good life choices, goal-setting and confidence-building.

Its services include behavioural and motivation mentoring; small-group engagement; after-school youth programmes; full-time 10-week youth development programmes; youth council co-ordination; employment and pathway planning; life skills development; high and complex needs support; and transitional support (intermediate-secondary-tertiary).

All money raised would be put back into the trust to provide youth development programmes.

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