A MAJOR scholarships programme to help students from low-income backgrounds in North East England to study at one of the country's top universities has received a new donation of £1million.

The Durham Inspired North East Scholarships support exceptional young people from across the region to fulfil their potential at Durham, regardless of their financial means.

Thanks to the scholarships, students can study up to masters degree level with financial assistance.

The £1million donation comes from the Race Family, from Northumberland, who have created a perpetual scholarship in the name of Dr Malcolm and Mrs Patricia Anne Race for four students each year from the North East wishing to study History and Liberal Arts.

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Both Dr Malcolm and Mrs Rice were first-in-family university attendees and met and studied at Durham in 1959 where they both read Modern History.

Speaking on behalf of all the family, their son Charles Race said: “The North East of England has given so much to our family, and the benefits we have all gained from a university education inspired us to put this scholarship together.

“We hope that others who may not have the means to progress to Durham are given that opportunity and we can in a very small way repay the region for all it has done for us.”

In total, each year more than 20 students will receive Durham Inspired North East Scholarships of £4,000 a year to study for foundation, undergraduate and masters level qualifications.

Of that £4,000, £1,500 is allocated to supporting students’ wider university experience including internships and careers support to help them build the skills that complement their academic studies.

The Durham Inspired North East Scholarships were established in 2020 with a £2million endowment as part of a landmark £7.5 million donation from Charles Wilson, a Durham graduate and his partner Dr Rowena Olegario, an Oxford University researcher.

That endowment included matched funding from several generous benefactors including the Ruth & Lionel Jacobson Charitable Trust.

Other donors to the scholarships include Edward Knight and Peter Ellis, the latter being a legacy donation made to support students and allocated to this fund as it was in-keeping with the donor’s wishes.

The Durham Inspired North East Scholarships build on existing scholarships focused on North East England.

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Katie Harland-Edminson, Deputy Director, Development and Alumni Relations, Durham University, said: “We want to welcome the best and brightest students with the merit and potential to succeed at Durham, regardless of their economic circumstances or their background.

“That’s why we’re delighted and thankful to receive these very generous donations which allow us to continue growing this important scholarship programme to increase opportunities for exceptional young people from the North East so they can benefit from everything that a Durham University education offers.”

The latest donations will also support the wider Durham Inspired Campaign, chaired by Rob Senior, former Chief Executive Officer Worldwide of the major advertising business Saatchi & Saatchi, which seeks to support the next generation of inspiration and leadership.

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