Scholarships > Sir Tom Cowie Memorial > 2015/16 Recipients

Cowie legacy shines on through region’s brightest lights

Sir Tom Cowie Recipients 2015

Caption L-R: Alex Hallimond; David Gray, FRICS, Chairman of Trustees of the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust; and Sarah Callaghan.

Sir Tom Cowie, the entrepreneur and philanthropist who left a lasting legacy on the region before his death in 2012, continues to shape the future of the North East as the scholarship established in his name is again supporting the ambitions of two final year students.

The scholarship, now in its third year, awards £10,000 to two high-achieving University of Sunderland students from the local area and in need of financial support to ensure they get the most out of their education.

A long-term supporter of the University, Sir Tom Cowie believed passionately in its principles of providing those with talent, regardless of background, the opportunity to access education and achieve their potential.

This year’s recipients of the Memorial Scholarship are Sarah Callaghan and Alex Hallimond, who both impressed with their achievements to date, and showed why they are deserving of the prestigious award.

Sarah, from Sunderland, became the first in her family to enter higher education when she started her Primary Education degree in 2013. The 31-year-old was inspired to provide the best future for her two young children and says the money will allow her to take advantage of opportunities that would otherwise be unattainable due to childcare costs.

She said: “I am looking to do a lot of additional qualifications to enhance my employability next year; to make me stand out that little bit more. I am doing a diploma in Dyscalculia, the mathematical version of Dyslexia. In schools English and maths are the two main subjects and although there is a lot of support for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia is in its infancy. To have a diploma in that emerging area will help me to get a job.

“I am also looking to do coaching qualifications, such as in tag-rugby, because schools have to pay for sports coaches to come in. They would be able to use me and save the money for other areas. I’m also doing the same with Spanish and Makaton - a form of sign language designed for young children.  

“It is expensive to study extra diplomas and I wouldn’t be able to do it, and the other learning opportunities, without the scholarship. It all supports me to be a better teacher as doing these things, such as placements, is an opportunity to put theory into practice.”

The second recipient, Alex Hallimond, began his Applied Business and Management studies at the University of Sunderland in 2012, at the age of 18, with the long term goal of being a part of the region’s economic future.

Now 21, the student from Ryhope is already Assistant Manager of the Durham Enterprise Rent-a-Car branch, having been promoted twice during the 12 month internship organised by the University’s careers development team.

The scholarship funding will help Alex continue to support his mother and sister financially, as his father passed away when he was young, and reduce his hours at Enterprise while he completes the last year of his education.

He said: “It was through the University Careers Fair that I found Enterprise. I started with them in June 2014 for a 12 month placement, and have progressed to the Assistant Manager role. It has set me up well for my future career.

“The fund will help me to support myself now the placement year has finished, and I will be able to reduce my hours throughout my final year and focus more time on my studies. The scholarship will enable me to keep my foot in the door at Enterprise and go on to resume my role when I have finished my degree.

“My dad went to the University of Sunderland so I have got a family link to it. My ambition is to be a business or industry leader, and it is good for the North East to have people striving to become that. I am very proud of where I am from.”

David Gray, FRICS, Chairman of Trustees of the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust, said: “I was delighted to meet such exceptional students, both of whom Sir Tom would have been delighted to know. 

“Alex, with his desire to graduate with a first and develop his career with Enterprise, and Sarah, developing her career in primary education focussed on the education of young children.  Both students are excellent scholars in accordance with Sir Tom’s vision to encourage people from Sunderland to achieve.”

Click here to go back to the Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship.

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