Davy Scholarships supporting students

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 12:13:00 GMT

Student Lewis learns that his secret benefactors were Ken and Jennifer Davy

Lewis Ngara, Ken and Jennifer Davy

Ken and Jennifer Davy with graduate Lewis Ngara

BUSINESSMAN Ken Davy and his wife Jennifer have a high public profile.  But when, in 2007, they decided to donate a large sum that would aid struggling University of Huddersfield students, their only stipulation was that they should stay anonymous.

One of the beneficiaries of the scheme was Huddersfield resident and Zimbabwe-born Lewis Ngara, who has a passion for education and a strong sense of gratitude to the places and the people that have helped him fulfil his dream. 

But neither Lewis nor the other 24 hard-pressed students who benefitted from the bursaries endowed by Mr and Mrs Davy, knew the identity of their benefactors.  One of the terms of the donation was that secrecy should be maintained because the generous Davys preferred to remain anonymous.

Now that the students have graduated, Ken and Jennifer Davy have agreed that the students can be made aware of their benefactors.  For Lewis Ngara this led to an opportunity to meet Mr and Mrs Davy, plus University of Huddersfield Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan.  And Lewis was eager to express his thanks.

“Everyone who gives you education gives you new life,” he says.  “The scholarship from Mr and Mrs Davy was such a big help to me and I was so glad to meet them in person.”

It was in 2007 that Jennifer and Ken Davy – whose highest public profile is as chairman of the Huddersfield Giants Super League team – offered the University a substantial sum, so that 25 students from disadvantaged backgrounds could receive funding to aid their undergraduate studies.

The offer – with the same proviso that secrecy should be maintained – was repeated for each year of their study, so that the 25 students were supported throughout their time at the University.  But although Ken and Jennifer Davy wanted to stay behind the scenes, they were kept up to speed over the progress of the students they had aided.  A significant number secured First Class or Upper Second degrees.

Lewis Ngara was one of the success stories.  He came to the UK in 2003, following his wife Taurisayi, who had been forced to seek asylum from the Zimbabwe regime.  The couple – who live in the Sheepridge area of Huddersfield with their two children – are now UK citizens.

The financial support of Ken and Jennifer Davy meant that Lewis could study for a BSc in Health and Community Studies at the University of Huddersfield and he made the most of this opportunity by achieving a coveted First Class honours degree.  Lewis is now pursuing PhD research on youth disaffection and social exclusion.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan, said: “We passionately believe that financial circumstances should not be a barrier to University education and Ken and Jennifer Davy share this passion.  What they have done is simply marvellous.  We respected their desire for confidentiality, but I am delighted that at last I can publicly acknowledge their very generous support.  They are really nice people who genuinely want to support others and have been quietly doing so for many years.”

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