Remembering our former Executive Director and tireless champion of cancer patients and their families, Clive Deverall

Posted 14 Mar 2017.

It is with great sadness this week that we learned of the passing of our former Executive Director and tireless champion of cancer patients and their families, Clive Deverall.

Clive devoted more than 20 years of his life to our organisation – what we’re able to achieve now owes much to the fact that we stand on the very solid ground he devoted a large proportion of his working life to building. Metaphorically, if not physically, he was a giant of a man and his loss will be keenly felt by many.

Our Education and Research Director, Terry Slevin, worked alongside Clive for many years, and has written the following ode to Clive’s many achievements and qualities:

“Clive joined the Cancer Council in the late 1970’s and departed late 1999. During that time he steered many fundamental reforms for the organisation. One was the shift to the original “Cancer Council” which was heavily influenced by Government appointments to the Board, into the independent Cancer Foundation of WA – which ran via a membership structure and an independent Board. Clive was fiercely independent – both as an individual and in his aspirations for what the organisation could achieve.

Clive drove the establishment of the Cottage Hospice, as a standalone Palliative Care facility in Shenton Park. He also led the establishment nationally of the sun protection merchandise that has become a staple of Cancer Council world around Australia. What Clive did not know about sunscreen was not worth knowing.

When diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1998 Clive stepped down from his role at the then Cancer Foundation, but remained a very active patient and consumer advocate. While wrestling his own disease and all the complexities that accompanied it, Clive served on many boards and committees in his “retirement” including the state government Charitable Collections agency, which oversaw regulation of the not for profit sector in WA. He was an active member of “Cancer Voices” and served on the National Health and Medical Research Council representing consumer’s views.

Of course, Clive has given his name to our own important entity “The Clive Deverall Society”. The use of his name was always driven by, and reflective of, the enormous regard and affection he inspired.

Clive was awarded, among many things, an Order of Australia Medal (AM) and the Honorary Doctor of Letters from Curtin University.

But in truth, honours and recognition did not drive Clive Deverall. Making a difference did.

Clive helped countless hundreds, probably thousands of people throughout his selfless life. For many in WA, Clive was the first port of call when it came to where to go and what to do when a cancer diagnosis befell them or someone they loved. And that was true of the rich or the poor, powerful or powerless.

Clive was undoubtedly a kind, generous, thoughtful and caring man. He was also a rogue and a scoundrel and the best gossip I ever met. Many, many time I’d go to his office to discuss important matters of business for the organisation and leave roaring with laughter with one of his ear singeing stories rattling through my head. Clive was as full of life as anyone could be.

There’s a small handful of us who were fortunate enough to serve this organisation alongside Clive. We will be particularly touched by his passing. But we should all reflect on the outstanding innovation, leadership and compassion that embodied Clive’s contribution to Cancer Council and the people of Western Australia. This organisation was blessed to have benefited from his dedication, energy and his own special kind of genius. Western Australia and beyond will be poorer for his being no longer with us.

Clive is survived by two sons, Luke and Brett, step- son Jason, two grandchildren, his sister and his loving and devoted wife Noreen. Our thoughts and best wishes are with them at an awful time. Vale Clive Deverall. You sir, were one of a kind.”

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