Sunderland students earn Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship

Robin Watson , left, and Alex Bowey with Chairman of Trustees of the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust, David Gray.
Robin Watson , left, and Alex Bowey with Chairman of Trustees of the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust, David Gray.

Two Wearside students are the latest to be awarded the prestigious Sir Tom Cowie Memorial Scholarship.

Alex Bowey, 23, and Robin Watson, 24, have both received £10,000 to help them with their studies in their final year of studies at Sunderland University.

Alex, of High Barnes, is a primary education student while Robin, of Plains Farm, is studying Mechanical Engineering.

The scholarship, now in its fifth year, was set up in memory of the Wearside born entrepreneur Sir Tom, who died in 2012, aged 89.

An enthusiastic supporter of the university, the former Sunderland football club chairman believed that gifted students should be given the means to afford a good education and the opportunity to further their learning, regardless of their background.

The annual award is given to one male and one female student at their end of their penultimate year of study to reward them for their outstanding academic records.

Alex has been able to quit her part-time job and volunteer one day a week in a local primary school thanks to the award.

She was inspired to take up teaching by her mother, Joanne, who graduated from the university in 2006 with a degree in Early Childhood Studies and who now teaches at St Mary’s Primary School, in Meadowside.

She said: “Teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s something that I’ve aspired to do from seeing the job satisfaction and pleasure my mam gets from such a rewarding career.”

Robin, who is looking to graduate next year, added: “The scholarship will help me focus all my time on my course, as I will not have to work part time to fund myself.

“I’ve always wanted to become an engineer because I have a keen interest in learning how things work and trying to improve and develop things. I would really like to work on projects that would improve and make a difference to people’s lives.”