Category Archives: News

Millie’s going for gold and setting her sights on Rio 2016

It’s a new academic year which means we have a fresh batch of scholars here at Edge Hill University and our big awards evening is fast approaching – I can’t wait! It has been great meeting so many of the new scholars at enrolment and Freshers week, so I thought it was about time that I started introducing them to you all!

Firstly, meet Millie Forrest. Millie has just started studying BSc (Hons) Coach Education. She was awarded the Sports Scholarship for Prospective Students at Gold level. I’ll let Millie tell you the rest!

My name is Millie Forrest and I am a disabled athlete who competes in the shot put and discus. In 2012, I was classified as an F37 thrower (F37 means athletes who have Cerebral Palsy). I started competing in 2012 for Wigan Harriers at lots of different competitions all around the country. I am currently ranked 2nd in the UK at both discus and shot put in my classification.

At the start of 2014, I was selected to be a part of the British Athletics Parallel Success Academy which is designed to help potential athletes reach the top and become Paralympic athletes by giving them extra training. Then, a few months later, I received a letter from British Athletics saying that I had been selected to represent Team GB at the IWAS World Junior Games in August. The games were at Stoke Mandeville, which was also the venue for the very first Paralympics event in 1948. This experience was so surreal and amazing. Proudly wearing the GB vest was such an honour and such a great feeling. The GB team consisted of athletes who had competed at the Commonwealth Games the week before and also athletes who had competed at the London 2012 Paralympics too. So, for me to be in the same team as them was overwhelming.

I came away from the Games with a gold medal in the shot put and a silver medal in the discus. It was my first international competition so I never expected a medal at all, I was just going to enjoy the experience and see where that would take me. However, to come home with two medals was just mind-blowing; I was so happy.

I was also selected to compete for the North West at the Sainsbury’s School Games which were held in Manchester in September. This was another great competition to be a part – not only did I win gold at the School Games but I also got a massive personal best in the shot put too. As well as participating in the competition, I got to take part in the opening ceremony and I met some incredible athletes such as Katrina Johnson-Thompson (heptathlon), Ellie Simmonds (paralympic swimmer) and Sam Ruddock (London 2012 Paralympian) who spoke to the athletes about their careers and what they did to get where they are today. So, overall 2014 has been a great year for me!

My ultimate ambition would be to get selected to represent Team GB at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. In the mean time, the opportunity to attend some more international events would be so good and competing around the world would be incredible too. I am training really hard at the moment. I train six times a week doing various different training sessions such as circuit training, weight training, throwing drills etc. I am determined to get to the Paralympics one day and I am fully focused on achieving my goal. I have never let my disability stop me from doing what I love I have just got on with my life like anybody else would.”

The video below features Millie being interviewed at the World Junior Games:

No rest but plenty of success for rugby scholar Ciaran

Throughout the year, one of our Sports Scholars, Ciaran Keane, has kept us updated about his sporting achievements. All I can say is wow, what fantastic opportunities he has enjoyed (and I am not at all jealous of the places he has visited!).

Ciaran was awarded a Sports Scholarship for Current Students in 2013 for his achievements in rugby union. Ciaran has just completed his second year of LLB (Hons) Law. You can read about Ciaran’s successful year as a scholar below.

“It is only now after a very busy year, that I get the opportunity to reflect on what I have achieved and experienced throughout this past year: playing in the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers and the European Sevens’ games for Luxembourg Rugby’s National team as well as playing for Edge Hill’s University team. I have played in some extraordinary places and climates but I have also played in the freezing cold, wet and strong winds (with this mainly being the climate for games which took place in the UK!).  Having said that it is at these University games that the most fun was had with some great people!

The Edge Hill rugby team came second in our league; a very respectable achievement having just been promoted.  In the World Cup Qualifiers, we (Luxembourg) competed well but were eventually beaten by Israel. We did however win our group, which means we have been promoted into a higher level of European rugby with the likes of Austria in our upcoming season. I was also selected as Young Player of the Year in January!

Having just finished my second year exams, I went straight to the Rugby Sevens in June where I played in a small competition in Cologne to ensure I was selected for the national team in a larger European tournament three weeks later in Prague. I was selected and was also the youngest player on the squad, a little daunting to say the least but I’m quite used to being tested like that by now. We played five games against different countries including Norway and Iceland and came third overall in the whole tournament – a great achievement. 

Following our Sevens’ games I was given a couple of weeks off, however this was short lived as I’m now preparing for a European U20s tournament in August before heading back to Edge Hill and starting what is considered pre-season for University – however, it most definitely doesn’t feel like it to me! I think my season is neverending!”

David directs himself to the top

With the academic year coming to the end, we caught up with David Kaye, one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students.

David reflected on his achievements this year and spoke about his future aspirations, particularly upon graduation next summer following the final year of his degree in BA (Hons) Film and Television Production which commences in September.

“I was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for my work in film and video production. For the past three years, I have been working as a co-director for ‘One Touch Media Online’ which specialise in film and video. During this time I have taken part in over twenty productions such as short films, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos, advertisements and many other types of projects.

This year I have purchased an Apple mac, editing and sound software, camera and equipment, which without the scholarship I would have been unable to have purchased. Owning these has allowed me to take on more projects, which has not only helped me to develop but has also assisted my peers who are involved and expand their portfolios. I have been able to use some of the financial support for car rentals, bus fairs and dinner to the cast and crew and of course the occasional end of project celebratory beer!

During this year, along with a couple of friends we entered the 9.88 Channel 4’s Ultra-Short Film Making Challenge. The challenge involved making a film which lasts no longer than 10 minutes. The short 10 minute film we created: ‘Take Me Back’, was a film shown in reverse and used some of the equipment that the scholarship enabled me to purchase. The film itself featured on the competition homepage and can be found below.

A lot of people focus on a specific job role but I make sure that my role changes with each project as in the future I want to direct films and to do this effectively it requires a universal understanding of film and all of its working components. So far, I have had experience with directing, producing, cinematography, lighting, sound and editing so that I can one day make this aspiration a reality.”

Lights… Camera… Scholarship!

Jordan Fraser was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students for producing three short movies in 2013. He has just completed his first year studying on our BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree.

I caught up with Jordan the other day to discover how receiving a scholarship has made a difference to his film making and to hear about what he’s been up to since being presented with his award. So, without too much further ado… Action!

“Looking back, I’m really proud of the three short movies that were recognised by being offered the Entrance Scholarship. Within my short movies, I particularly enjoy creating layered stories which, although not always apparent on the first watch, cleverly incorporate visual clues.

Obviously, without a Spielberg budget I couldn’t buy Pinewood but the scholarship cash was a very welcome gift that allowed me to purchase some very important pieces of kit including SLR lenses, a shoulder mount, computer upgrades and editing software to help me on my way for the first year.

And what a year it’s been. I’ve had to successfully make the transition from being my own boss, so to speak, to applying my knowledge and collaborating with my peers, making the most of the great facilities the campus has to offer, and quickly learning how other factors such as people with their individual ideas and personalities affected me directly. This was quite a culture shock and I had to adapt quickly.

The first brief I received on the course was to create a short film based loosely on a series of ‘shorts’ called Coffee and Cigarettes whereby we needed to prop the scene with one of the two items. So coffee it was, accompanied by Valentine’s cards. The synopsis here was a minimal café scene, where two friends meet after a long time apart. In the short time they have together, it becomes apparent that they have differing views on everything (including coffee and Valentine’s Day!).

Take 2 and our second movie is more of a dark espionage affair. This film taught me a lot, both in the art of filmmaking but also about working with actors. I couldn’t have asked for more from my leading man, learning his lines and pulling off a brilliant performance in just three days. As his director, I instilled how angry, emotional and petrified he should feel and it worked.

Now, it’s summer. I’m thinking of ideas for some ‘off campus’ movies and the second year is looming. I can’t wait for the next episode to begin!”

Ain’t no mountain high enough for Connor

Connor Richmond was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2012 for demonstrating excellence in Performing Arts. He will begin the final year of his BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree in September. He recently sent us an update of what he’s been up to since receiving his scholarship.

It’s always great to hear what our scholars have continued to achieve and Connor has certainly been making the most of his time at University, transferring his attention from the stage to become involved in the production of films, taking to the airwaves and even successfully competing in the Students’ Union’s annual elections! Connor acknowledges that receiving a scholarship has helped give him the confidence to pursue further success.

Although I have been involved with Drama in the past, including a professional youth production of Sweeney Todd for which I was awarded the Excellence Scholarship, my heart has always been beating for the creation of on-screen narratives a little more than on-stage stories. As a Film and Television Production student, witnessing both sides of production is an outstanding learning experience and one that continues to benefit my own work when producing films.

This year I have been involved in several productions of short films, projects and competitions. I was elected as Director of Photography on a collaborative project with five other students in which we created a short film entitled ‘The Cuckoo’ which also involved five other students in its creation. I composed the soundtrack for the film and recorded the score to a live screening of the edit. The film has been screened in Northern Ireland and we hope to submit it to various film festivals around the UK.

I also co-directed and produced a short documentary about the life, labour and legacy of Irish migrant and Liverpool legend, Kitty Wilkinson. Working with four other students, we met with Michael Kelly (author of ‘The Life of Kitty Wilkinson’), Revered Elizabeth Storey (Kitty’s great-grandniece) and Liverpool historian Greg Quiery. To our surprise, the documentary has been selected to feature in the 2014 Liverpool Irish Festival. I am very excited to watch it on the ‘big screen’ this October.

Being a scholar has been a great experience because it’s given me the confidence to tackle projects that I maybe wouldn’t have tackled in the past. There “ain’t no mountain high enough” as Marvin Gaye or Tammi Terrell might say!

Last summer, I was approached by a Tesco store in Northern Ireland and used the scholarship award money to fly home to direct, shoot and edit a campaign video for them. It was submitted by the store to an internal staff competition to coincide with the ‘Love Every Mouthful’ TV campaign. The video gained over 10,000 views online and was ranked in the top five of the competition.”

In addition to his flair for drama and film and television production, Connor has also enjoyed an active role with Edge Hill Students’ Union.

“I volunteered during Freshers Week and was consequently appointed Student Trustee. This inspired me to run for the position of Student Governor in the Annual Elections. I was overwhelmed and ecstatic when I received the most votes and was elected.

I also host my own radio show every week on ‘Vibe Radio’, part of the Students Union’s Media Platform, and this year took up the position of Senior Radio Presenter. This was a scary but fantastic challenge and I enjoyed every second of it. I have been selected to take up the job of Head Coordinator and Managing Director of the Radio for the next academic year. This is something I am extremely excited about and I cannot wait to grab the reins.”

From the Megabus to mega success

With many of our previous scholars completing their degrees and preparing to graduate this July, it seemed like a great opportunity to find out how and why receiving a scholarship had made a difference to their time at Edge Hill University.

We asked one of our graduating scholars Stephanie Marsh, who has just completed her PGCE in Secondary English with QTS (11-16) to reflect on being awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2013. This is what Stephanie had to say!

“After applying to do my PGCE in Secondary English at Edge Hill University and accepting an offer of a place, I was over the moon. However, I knew that the demands of such a course may interfere with my commitments to voluntary work. This wasn’t something I wanted to happen, since both before and throughout my time at The University of York studying for an undergraduate degree, I had dedicated a large portion of my time to volunteering with children and vulnerable people. Some of my volunteering involved me helping at a residential camp for children in the social services system, as a youth worker with vulnerable teenage girls and as a teaching assistant at HMP Askham Grange. During my undergraduate degree, I was also Vice Chair for the Volunteering Society. Volunteering this much was fine – when I had the time! I quickly realised that juggling a part-time job to fund myself, a PGCE and continuing my volunteering work may not be a viable option! That’s why I was so glad when I stumbled upon the Excellence Scholarships page on the Edge Hill website, although I must admit I didn’t really expect my application would be considered worthy of an award.

Fast forward a few months to a hot day, sat on a Megabus to London and my phone rang. It was Zoe (the Scholarships Administrator at Edge Hill) and to my surprise she was congratulating me on being awarded the Excellence Scholarship. I was pretty amazed and obviously my weekend in London for a friend’s wedding involved a little extra celebration.

In every day terms, the scholarship has meant that financially I could afford to only work one shift a week in my part-time job whilst completing my PGCE studies, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the funding.  The knock on effect this had was simple; the extra time I was gaining meant I was able to pursue voluntary opportunities in my area, albeit on a more ad-hoc basis but I could still get involved all the same.

Now I’m at the end of my course and finally a qualified English teacher with a job lined up for September I can see clearly how the scholarship has benefited me. I am currently still involved with West Lancashire Young People’s Service and liaise with them often to volunteer at events. I’m also currently in the process of becoming an Independent Visitor to children in care through the charity NYAS. A year ago I was wondering how I could continue my voluntary work without the time or money, yet now I am pursuing it further than ever before and planning it into a new chapter of my life as I begin work as a teacher.”

We wish Stephanie the best of luck with her teaching career!

Daniel bowls over our Scholarship Selection Panel

A recent winner of one of our Excellence Scholarships for Prospective Students, Daniel Hamm dropped into the office the other day to update us on his progress and, wow, what a great year he has had!

Daniel plays cricket for Tranmere Victoria CC, Cheshire County CC and England PD team and was awarded a Sports Scholarship in September 2013. He has now just completed Year 1 of our BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport degree.

England Squad

This is what Daniel had to say about cricket and his first year as an Edge Hill University scholar.

“Over the past 12 months I have been fortunate enough to remain within the England PD Squad, with one of my highlights being selected to travel to Dubai to play Pakistan. The tour lasted two weeks and consisted of seven games (a warm up match, 3 T20’s and 3 ODI’s), I played in the warm up match and 2 T20 matches.

My role in the squad is a bowler and I am one of the few young spin bowlers with the team.  Although we did not come home victorious, I personally had a great time – not only did I get to play but we got to see a lot of the sights in Dubai and watch Lancashire CCC play – what an experience! I also learnt a lot about cultural differences, myself and my team mates. The experiences I went through can only help me become a better player and person as I go into my second year at Edge Hill in September.

Overall, I take great pride in how my first year at Edge Hill has gone and how well I have settled into things. I have thoroughly enjoyed the year, meeting new people, making new friends, attending seminars and lectures. I am happy with my results and how they are progressing as well as how well my cricket has been developing, I hope they both continue to go well during my next two years at Edge Hill.”

What being nominated for a scholarship meant to me

Did you know that while you can apply for a number of Edge Hill University’s scholarships yourself, if you are a current student you can also be nominated to receive a Chancellor’s Scholarship or an Adam Bell Scholarship? These awards recognise students who make an exceptional contribution to the University, help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way and/or demonstrate qualities such as dedication, compassion to others, and resilience.

Edward Teale, a second year DipHE Paramedic Practice student, was nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship by his tutor. The nomination was well-deserved recognition of his extensive volunteering work that led to him receiving the National Student of the Year award, as well as the high level of professionalism demonstrated on his placement. Recently we caught up with Thomas to find out what being chosen for a Chancellor’s Scholarship had meant to him.

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“I was thrilled and delighted to simply be nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship but to be in receipt of it – what an accolade, what an honour! I feel very much obliged to all those who were involved in my selection for what I consider to be a very prestigious award. The ceremony was a very special evening for my family who travelled across the country to attend and see me receive my certificate from the University’s Chancellor, well-known Clinical Psychologist and TV Broadcaster Tanya Byron. My dad had been impressed with her life story and musical choices when she appeared on Desert Island Discs only a few days before the awards ceremony!

To be honest, I consider it a privilege simply to be a student on the Paramedic Practice course, training to qualify for the exciting, rewarding and totally absorbing world of the paramedic. In my case it was particularly gratifying to learn that my placement professional activities had been perceived as having special value for the family of one of my patients. Although the eventual outcome for the patient was extremely sad, it was very moving to receive a very generous letter of commendation for my actions. I am, inevitably, proud to be the subject of such fulsome praise but feel I merely acted in a supportive way that I would reasonably expect of others in similar circumstances.

I am still not entirely convinced that I am worthy of a Chancellor’s Scholarship and I’m sure that many others within my cohort are equally deserving. I do, however, reiterate my very great pleasure in being chosen and trust that my future progress and actions continue to justify the decision. It has certainly contributed to greater self confidence in my work and, on a more practical note, the monetary prize that accompanies the award will go a long way towards funding my driving lessons as I endeavour to obtain the ambulance driver’s licence to give me a head start when my career commences – hopefully at the end of the current academic year.”

You can be nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship by Edge Hill University staff. Nominations for an Adam Bell Scholarship can be made by Edge Hill University staff or your peers.

Why not speak to your tutor, another member of University staff or friends who are current Edge Hill University students to discuss your individual situation and your desire to be nominated for an award? Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Scholarships website. Good luck!

Guy drums to success

At the most recent ‘get together’ arranged for the University’s scholars, one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students, Guy Shread, told us about how his enthusiasm and talent for ensemble drumming has recently taken him to Japan to perform with the highly acclaimed Kagemusha Taiko.

Guy is in his third year studying BA (Hons) Visual Theatre at Edge Hill University. He explains:

“My ambition is to enrich people’s lives through performance. I knew if I applied for the On-Course Scholarship I had a great chance of developing my performance ability. Amongst other performance skills, I am a Taiko player, which featured heavily in my scholarship application. Taiko is choreographed ensemble drumming which has its origins in Japan.

In October 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Japan with Kagemusha Taiko as part of an international friendship exchange. As well as performing a theatre concert, we also played at schools and charity gigs for local residents. The trip was part of an ongoing programme to help raise morale for those who were affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Their warm welcome and response to our visit was overwhelming. The experience we had delved deep and revealed a depth to performance I had never felt before and I felt honoured to be a part of such profound events.

The assistance of the scholarship has surpassed what I thought it could bring and has made a significant contribution in enabling me to go on this trip and further improve my performance skills.”

You can see a clip of Guy’s impressive drumming with Kagemusha Taiko below. Prepare to be enthralled!

James gets the recognition he deserves for helping others

We have received a lovely update from one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students in our class of 2013. Below is a copy of his letter. Enjoy!

“Hello there! My name is James Hallworth, I am a third year BA (Hons) History student and I was awarded a scholarship last year from Edge Hill University as recognition of my previous voluntary work.

I have spent the last few years, my summers at least, teaching English to people of all ages and abilities across India and Thailand. Specifically during my time at Edge Hill University, I spent two years as a Student Coordinator for a wonderful little charity named VESL. My roles were to select interested candidates from the university and prepare them for a 6-week summer teaching programme in Northern Thailand. This involved everything from fundraising, language training, teacher training, cultural awareness training, team building etc.

Once in the country, my primary objective was to ensure the smooth running of the project. I did my best to keep the volunteers and students safe and happy whilst getting as much from the experience as possible. In both years, this was challenging. Sometimes volunteers would fall ill and have to spend time in hospital, and at other times you might find yourself in a room with 200 Thai teachers who were semi-fluent in English and expected you to spend six hours helping them to progress. This kind of thing was daunting but continuously rewarding. We try to make small but long-lasting and visible changes to communities. In South East Asia, the ability to speak English in order to gain employment is growing exponentially and that is essentially why VESL send volunteers to this area.

I have experience of working and travelling abroad in many countries, China, Slovakia, India etc. As well as immensely enjoying exploring the world, these kinds of ventures have given me a real sense of consciousness in terms of just how fortunate I am to have been born in England. Here, we have all kinds of luxuries which much of the world simply does not. I hope to travel this summer with a large and well respected charity named ICS to Uganda or Zimbabwe to get involved with some community projects there. These will vary from working in HIV/Aids clinics, to teaching English through sports, to helping petition local authorities for changes that will benefit the community. The money that Edge Hill generously gave me through this scholarship will make this possible and I am extremely grateful for that. The university has shown me nothing but support in the time I have been here, and that includes everyone from the head of the History department to the library staff.

Thanks for reading!”