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Andrew's Story

Andrew's Story


Andrew contacted Queen’s in November 2014 to discuss his thoughts around making a legacy gift and has since become a generous donor and good friend to the University. Here he explains his memories and motivations behind supporting Queen’s.


“Following a first degree in Botany at Manchester, I was awarded a Scholarship from the Potato Marketing Board in Northern Ireland in 1968. I was based at Newforge Lane to study potato gangrene under Professor McKee and Dr Charles Logan and acquired my PhD in 1970.


What did I gain from Queen’s?

“Queen’s helped me develop the skills and knowledge to work on soil-borne diseases, which contributed to my subsequent application to a research post at the National Vegetable research station, Wellesbourne (now part of the University of Warwick). This role took me to places like Egypt and Mexico and provided the opportunity for me to organise conferences and mix with fellow scientists from around the world, including Germany, Spain and Mexico. Ultimately, Queen’s helped me get my dream job!


“I remember many amusing stories from my time at Queen’s, when I was trying to decode the Belfast colloquialisms. One that stays with me is an occasion when the Head of Newforge Lane Research Station asked me, “How’s the form?” My English-roots understood form to be something I sat on - but actually it was my health I was being asked about! “Outside of work, I spent my spare time walking the Mourne Mountain Circuit and many pleasant days were spent visiting the wonderful gardens at Queen’s and Rowallane. I attended the Film Theatre, Belfast Art Festivals (I still have two original prints), and went to concerts to see big names such as Paul Tortelier and Oscar Peterson. And the food - even after 40 years I still remember with fondness the local delights prepared for me by a very special landlady - especially the butter-melting soda bread!


My motivations

“In my early teens, my parents emphasised the key life values of ‘health, education and travel’- values which have stayed with me and shaped my choices and subsequent pathways in life.


I took early retirement to  care for my frail elderly mother and, more recently, my twin brother, a cancer survivor; I was a founder member of Warwick University UNTRAP promoting Patient Public Involvement (PPI) in health care; am a governor for the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS trust; a lay reviewer for the Professional Record Standards Board (PRSB) which provides a clinical and professional guidance service to the Data Standards Assurance Service (DSAS) which  in turn is responsible for assuring and approving information standards in health care, part of the current transition to digitally enabled healthcare led by NHS Digital; a reviewer for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme; PILAR which is developing national standards for PPI management; and a reviewer for a diverse range of health care journals.

This assumes ever more importance in our fast-moving times; in addition to the usual continuing professional development CPD in science and health care research I am a guide at the Batsford Arboretum and I support an Italian student at the Turin Conservatorio; I learnt clarinet and played in the Dene River Jazz Men, Wellesbourne.

In the aftermath of WWII, my parents wanted us to understand that those living in other countries were not enemies; by our mid-teens we had camped our way through most of Europe - this in the days before package holidays- learning enough French to do the food shopping.  Since then, I have improved my French and learnt Spanish and Italian - a great help when trekking the GR36 and Haute Route in France, and la Grande Traversata delle Alpe in Piemonte, Italy.  Looking back, it becomes obvious just what a big influence Queen’s has had on both my professional and my personal life.


My contribution to Queen’s

“Looking back, it becomes obvious just what a big influence Queen’s has had on both my professional and my personal life. In recognition of this, I am a donor to Queen’s, funding current generations of postgraduate and postdoctoral students, and supporting and maintaining the standards and traditions which help make Queen’s exceptional.”


Like Andrew, the causes closest to your heart are often personal in origin, which is why you can choose to make a gift to support the area of research or education at Queen’s that means the most to you.


“This award has, and will continue to have, a lasting effect on my career, so from both an academic and personal point of view I am truly grateful to Andrew for this. I will continue to acknowledge the contribution your donation has made to my cancer research work”.


Dr Philip Dunne - Recipient of the Entwistle Travel Scholarship. Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology.