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11 July 2006

Jimmy Savile gives young medics a helping hand

The UK’s most renowned charity campaigner, Sir Jimmy Savile, is to provide scholarships for medical students in his home city. His generous donation will help five trainee doctors pursue career paths in research and teaching, as well as treating patients.

“Some ideas are good, some ideas are great. I thought this idea was terrific –so it’s got me 100%,” said Sir Jimmy, who was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Leeds in 1986. .

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur, who himself has a distinguished career combining medical research, teaching and clinical practice, said: “We need talented medical graduates to combine their clinical work with research and teaching, so they can pass on their knowledge and experience to future generations of doctors. I am very grateful to Sir Jimmy, and we both hope others will follow suit.”

Sir Jimmy has pledged £60,000 to support the new Leeds undergraduate research enterprise scholarship programme (LURE). The Savile scholarships will be awarded to students who display a flair for research and enthusiasm for careers in academic clinical research and teaching (see below).

There is a national shortage of medical graduates choosing a career in clinical academic medicine because of the relative lack of a clear training pathway and of academic positions, and the difficulty of combining clinical practice with academic excellence and teaching commitments. LURE hopes to address these issues.

In a lifetime of charitable activity, Sir Jimmy has run more than 200 marathons and raised millions for medical causes. He has a long-standing association with the Leeds General Infirmary, where he volunteers one day a week, and with cardio services in particular.

PHOTOCALL: Sir Jimmy will present a cheque to University Chancellor Lord (Melvyn) Bragg and Professor Michael Arthur at 3pm on Friday 14 July in the Clothworkers’ Court (beside the Great Hall) at the University.

For further enquiries or to attend the photocall please contact Vanessa Bridge, Director of Media Relations, University of Leeds on 0113 343 4030.

Notes to editors

1. LURE has been developed and led by Professor Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam Clinical Sub-Dean at Leeds Medical School and Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary. It will provide research internships, leadership courses and funding for outreach work.

It has several tiers of mentoring, with students supported by leading clinical researchers at the University, leading up to engagement in one to-one mentoring with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Scholars will also act as ambassadors for the University’s medical school at research meetings and in school programmes.

2. Sir Jimmy will meet the students and academics involved with LURE at an official launch of the programme later this year.


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