It is with great sadness the Foundation acknowledges the passing of one of its most loyal supporters.

Karen Bardwell, founder of Oyster Executive Recruitment, died suddenly on Boxing Day leaving her sons Joshua and Jacob, her extended family, work colleagues, clients and friends bereft.

Oyster Executive Recruitment has been the naming rights’ sponsor of the Foundation’s annual dinner A Night to Remember for the last four years and a Patron of the Club Otago lunch series since 2013. Karen was also involved in a number of other Foundation events and was always on hand to lend a word of advice or a nod of encouragement.

Her commitment to and enthusiasm for the work of our researchers and scholarship recipients was unquestioned and limitless. While the company support carried a business angle, it was Karen’s personal interest in the discoveries being made which really fired her imagination.

Karen’s influence extended throughout the country, but it will be in Dunedin where her absence will be felt the most. She was a voice of positivity and a genuine ray of sunshine. Her zeal and drive touched thousands of people. Whether it was leaning over the fence talking to her neighbours, on the sporting side-lines, at a business meeting or speaking at A Night to Remember, Karen’s laughter and sparkle were ever-present.

Dunedin, Otago and the Foundation have lost a friend. We were extremely fortunate to have Karen alongside.

More importantly though, Joshua and Jacob have lost a mother, a mentor and their guiding light. Our condolences are very much with them.