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Legacy stories

Thank you to everyone who has pledged a gift to Warwick in their will
You're changing the world

Noreen Murray from WikipediaNoreen Murray CBE (1935-2011)

Pioneering molecular geneticist, Noreen Murray CBE (1935-2011), left a legacy donation to the University which has been used to grant two out of four special awards to early career researchers to develop exceptional projects.

Lady Murray was an honorary graduate of the University, and her generosity made the biomedical projects below possible.

We're also immensely grateful to another (anonymous) donor who graduated from engineering at Warwick and funded the other projects below in The Philanthropy Awards 2014.

  • Better storage: Dr Matthew Gibson, Chemistry, is working on a new 'antifreeze' based on polar fish glycoproteins to improve blood and organ storage and transplant success. He says, “In a ten year period, organ demand increased by 25% in the UK alone, while organ donation remained static, leaving us with a chronic shortage of biological materials. Better storage of human tissues could address this bio-banking crisis."
  • Better concrete: Dr Stana Zivanovic, Engineering, is developing an eco-friendly concrete using a mixture of concrete and recycled plastic fibres. This will be a reinforced concrete which is stronger, more flexible and more resistant to cracking than the traditional mix, and will reduce waste plastic exports enormously.
  • Better antibiotics: Dr Emma Denham and Dr Chrystala Constantinidou, Warwick Medical School, are examining the behaviour of specific bacteria. They’re finding out what makes bacteria grow, and by working out the particular ‘meeting’ points, developing new antibiotics to prevent bacterial growth and the spread of disease.
  • Better planning: Dr Weisi Guo, Engineering, is tracking sunlight exposure across the world: sunlight allows us to convert vitamin D, an essential requirement for good health, but it’s hard to get the right balance as too much can lead to skin cancer, and too little leads to complications like rickets. The data will inform city planning and medical research.
    Read more about the Philanthropy Awards 2014

    ElizabethElizabeth Creak

    The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust recently announced a new Chair in Food Security at Warwick's School of Life Sciences, in memory of Elizabeth Creak and from a gift in her will which established the Trust.

    Professor Laura Green, Head of the School, said:

    The support of the Trust to enable us to create the Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security will make a significant difference to a research and impact programme focused on the crucial issue of ‘Food’.

    'Food' is one of the University of Warwick's Global Research Priorities, where we are focusing our research efforts on issues of food security, food production and supply, environmental and social sustainability, governance, social justice, nutrition and public health.

    The Trust are also generously funding a special Scholarship Fund to help students undertaking placements in commercial laboratories, other academic research facilities, with growers and producers, or to support their study for an MSc or PhD.

    Paul May, a trustee for the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust and Elizabeth Creak’s nephew, said that this was a very important gift in memory of his aunt:

    “Elizabeth would have been proud to support the important work in food security at The University of Warwick by funding the new Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security.

    Her own farm was just five minutes’ drive away from the University’s crop centre Wellesbourne and she was a close friend of Jack and Doris Butterworth, the University’s first Vice-Chancellor and his wife.

    Clyde Higgs, Elizabeth’s uncle, was well known for introducing innovation into dairy farming and it is appropriate that innovative research into food security at Warwick will benefit the farming community both here in the UK and internationally.”

    The Trust's gift was a timely complement to the government's renewed focus on investment in agri-tech research, and coincides with the launch of a new Warwick-led partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), training 260 PhD research students over the next 5 years in a number of areas including food security.

    We are extremely grateful for the Trust's support, and will be sure to report back in the years to come with the results of this generous donation. Most of all, we are grateful for the long-lasting support of Elizabeth Creak, Warwickshire’s first Woman High Sheriff, whose generosity will change lives for years to come.

    Don Bates (1927-2004)

    DonWhen Donald (Don) Bates chose to leave the residue of his estate to the University of Warwick Foundation, and in particular the Senior Tutor's Hardship Fund, it was for one reason alone – to give back for the benefit he had previously received.

    As a mature student taking a Masters at Warwick from 1967 to 1969, Don found it necessary to seek advice and subsequently financial assistance from the Hardship Fund. This help allowed him to successfully complete his studies at Warwick.

    Don's residual bequest worth £52,000 was transferred to the University in March 2005. Since receiving this generous legacy, we have enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about Don and in particular his passion for education and scholarly endeavour by speaking with his widow, Judith Bates.

    My late husband made his intentions quite clear in his will – he wanted the remainder of his estate to benefit students today at Warwick via its Hardship Fund. I am happy to be working with staff at the University to help ensure his wishes are carried out.

    Having never attended university myself, I did not know a great deal about places like Warwick, but listened to Don rave about his studies and the time he spent there.

    Don would be thrilled to know that his generosity will help postgraduate students at the University for many years to come and that his legacy will always remain a part of the institution.

    With Mrs Bates' advice, we have created a new annual postgraduate award provided by the yearly interest of the Donald Bates' Bequest Endowment Fund. The main aim of these awards is to help postgraduates who are suffering financial difficulties towards the end of their studies after supporting themselves for some time.
    Don's legacy means that this award will be a fixture at Warwick in perpetuity – a commemorative plaque has been hung in the Silent Reading Room in the Library in recognition of Don’s contribution.

    NestaNesta Howells (d.2007)

    In October 2007, the University received a legacy gift of £10,000 from Mrs Nesta Howells, a former student who completed a Certificate in Education at the Coventry College of Education in 1950.

    The Coventry College of Education merged with the University in 1978 to become the Faculty of Educational Studies (later the Warwick Institute of Education).

    From Nesta's legacy, £8,000 will be placed in Warwick’s general endowment fund with the remaining £2,000 being used to create a Student Prize in Nesta's name within the Institute of Education.

    ron_lockhart_merged.pngRon Lockhart

    Ron Lockhart (Maths, 1965; pictured right as a student and today) invites you to think about leaving a legacy to Warwick.

    I had a great time at Warwick. My degree enabled me to think in a different way and to analyse situations carefully – which was especially important in my career as an accountant.

    It’s been really interesting to watch the University change over time. When I was a student, the Maths department was the largest one on campus, and we had lots of engaging lecturers - like Professor Zeeman whose lectures were inspirational but also flamboyant!

    I think that the Warwick experience gave our cohort very strong starts in their careers – and when I was asked to contribute towards scholarships, I really wanted to help. I didn’t have to pay fees but these days students end up with significant debts, and many talented and intelligent teenagers worry that they can’t afford to go to a University at all.

    My legacy will let the scholarship I fund at Warwick continue for some time to come, which I am pleased about. On a financial level, it’s reduced the level of inheritance tax which my family will pay on my estate too, which is a useful consideration for people who are considering leaving charitable gifts in their Will.

    I would encourage others to think about a gift in their Will. It’s something we can all do, and if more people give at a reasonable level, it will make a difference.

    entwhistles.pngOur mother's legacy

    The Entwistle Story

    Twins Andrew and Geoffrey Entwistle talk a little about why they support Warwick and what it means to them:

    Our family’s donations to Warwick are given partly to fulfil a bequest by our mother, and also because we wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the University because of the pleasure our father experienced in his consultancy work with the Warwick Manufacturing Group.

    Mum bequeathed a modest sum for research into cancer, but back when she passed away in 2004, the Cancer Research Unit had not yet been developed at Warwick. We talked with fundraisers in the team and determined on an alternative use for the bequest: funding for medical student electives. These are an essential part of Warwick medical curriculum.

    We set up the Entwistle Family Elective Trust to help students organise their elective experience, often in far-away places when the expense would otherwise be prohibitive. We receive regular student reports and marvel at the ingenuity and determination of medical students when treating patients who may not speak English and where medical facilities are basic. It’s excellent training for a ‘can-do’ attitude for doctors to do their best for patients whatever the circumstances.

    Our example gives you two suggestions of how you can give a donation: during your lifetime, when you can see the benefits of your donation, or in a bequest which will help future generations. If you are interested in making a donation, it would probably help you to talk to a fundraiser at Warwick. They can offer advice on your gift’s purpose, whether to add Gift Aid to it or not, and professional guidance on things like will-making.

    Meanwhile, we are pleased to join other Warwick Benefactors in supporting worthy causes at the University of Warwick. It’s wonderful to see the impact of our family’s support and to know that we’re making a difference both to the medical students involved and to the society which benefits from their eventual expertise.”

    Philanthropy is vital to supporting ground-breaking research at Warwick, and the money kindly gifted through donations and legacies helps us to come up with real, tangible, life-changing results for the benefit of all.

    Can you give a gift too? See how you can leave a gift in your will today.