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Newcastle University Supporters’ Event, The Gherkin

As Master of the Company and a Trustee of the Water Conservation Trust, I was invited to a Supporter Thank You Event in London.  For several years the Trust has provided an annual bursary for a Newcastle University postgraduate student on a water and environmental degree, as well as awarding an annual dissertation prize.  It was a useful opportunity to learn more about the ways the Campaign for Newcastle University is making a difference.

The evening was opened by Professor Anya Hurlbert, Dean of Advancement, and started with Ruth Sunderland, Group Business Editor of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, sharing her experience of giving back her time and expertise to support students, highlighting the integral role that volunteering plays in enhancing the university experience.

It was an absolute privilege to hear the stories of two students, Emma and Charlotte-Ann.  Emma’s dedication to PhD research into the immune response to respiratory viruses underlines the importance of donor-funding to support the careers of future scientists.  Charlotte-Ann has a serious underlying health issue and, together with her mother Sam, spoke about the great challenges that many students face in reaching higher education, and how her scholarship has been used to buy equipment and resources needed to flourish in her degree.  Her desire to make a difference in the world, despite facing many barriers, was truly inspiring.  I had a fascinating chat with her and it was so encouraging to hear how she manages personal challenges and appreciates the support of the University.

Newcastle University is very committed to helping local students and those who would otherwise struggle to access university education.  Last year they offered over 200 scholarships; they have 161 alumni mentors and a £70 million support fund.

It was a very interesting evening hearing from students and staff about the benefits of the type of support our Trust provides.  There were also super views from the top of the Gherkin.

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