Scholarships > Sir Tom Cowie Memorial > 2014/15 Recipients

Sir Tom Cowie Memorial Scholarship Awards supports final year students for second time

Glen Potts

From left: Glen Potts and Mathew Feltoe.

Two University of Sunderland students have each been given a £10,000 boost for their final year of study after showing tremendous resilience in the face of adversity.

Glen Potts and Mathew Feltoe were awarded the sum after they both demonstrated an excellent academic record and dedication to their courses.

Part of the Sir Tom Cowie Memorial Scholarship Awards, created by the Wearside-born entrepreneur and philanthropist who passed away in 2012, the money aims to help Sunderland students succeed irrespective of their background.

Glen Potts was chosen as he maintained a high academic standard whilst dealing with financial pressures - as well as a host of other difficulties.

“Six years ago I had a dream to become a primary school teacher and contribute to the education and welfare of children in the Sunderland area. This desire came from my own two children, Leah and Ella, as the contrast in needs between them is vast.

“Last December my wife’s dad was diagnosed with aggressive cancer. After Christmas, just as life was settling down a little, my own dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live.”

Despite everything that the 41-year-old from Sunderland had faced that year, he actually achieved his most successful results to date.

Glen added: “Dad was so proud, I had won my battle. However he was beginning to lose his. Dad sadly passed away in June and although he will not see me graduate, he was clear in his mind that I would succeed.

“When I first learned of the scholarship I was in disbelief and it took about a minute to sink in. I am so grateful to the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust; their generosity has already made a huge impact on my life.”

Sir Tom Cowie was a long-term supporter of the University of Sunderland and believed passionately in its principles of affording those with talent, regardless of background, the opportunity to access excellent higher education and achieve their potential.

The second recipient, Mathew Feltoe, is a final year Mechanical Engineering student who had been working part-time to support his studies. Also from Sunderland, the 23-year-old has been taking part in the Formula Student programme, where different universities are tasked with building cars to compete against each other, using the industry level facilities at Sunderland’s AMAP (Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice) factory.

He said: “I was part of the team during my second year but could not fully engage with it due to work commitments. I missed a lot of sessions at the start of the year because of my job. I ultimately decided to leave the Formula Student team because I was fully consumed with university assignments, revision and work.”

Mathew also joined the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (iMechE) to help broaden his knowledge of engineering in the North-East. Again he had to miss events due to work commitments, but the Scholarship will now enable him to enhance his knowledge further to benefit his future career.

He added: “After completing my final year I plan to study a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and become a Chartered Engineer. Ultimately I would like to create and develop my own engineering company, engaging in design and consultancy work with the aim of bringing more business to the North-East by employing local engineers, and giving back to the community.”

David Gray, FRICS, Chairman of Trustees of the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted with the success of the Scholarships, now that the scheme has entered into its second year.

“The two first year scholars were exemplary students and both gained1st Class honours. This year’s scholars, Matthew and Glen, are both studying degrees that would mean so much to Sir Tom, with both students wanting to work in Sunderland after their studies.

“Sir Tom set up his Charitable Trust in the hope of giving, particularly people from Sunderland, opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t get. These grants mean that the two students can focus on their degrees rather than having to balance financial pressures with their studies, and this is a way of continuing Sir Tom’s close relationship with the University.”

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