University of Buckingham plants tree to celebrate Friend's 'extraordinary' service

The University of Buckingham has planted a tree to celebrate the long service of one of its longstanding Friends.

By Hannah Richardson
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 4:06 pm

University vice-chancellor James Tooley unveiled a plaque at a tree planting to celebrate treasurer Steve Heywood's 42 years of service to the Friends of the University.

The Friends are a group of volunteers who support the university by forging stronger links between Buckingham and the community as well as helping students.

A cherry blossom tree has been planted by the river on campus in recognition of treasurer Steve Heywood's long service.

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From left: Friends treasurer Steve Heywood, chairman Graham Barker, committee members Gillian St. Ledger Smith, Dr Maura Corcoran, Claire Mathieson, Veda Murphy, secretary Marilyn Fairclough and university vice-chancellor James Tooley

Prof Tooley said: “The longstanding links between the Friends and the university have been an invaluable thread running through the life of our institution.

"Steve Heywood’s contribution has been truly extraordinary and he has my personal gratitude.”

Chair of the Friends, Graham Barker, added: “Steve, both social secretary and treasurer for many years, has played an important role in raising money that has helped make such a difference to students whilst at the university."

Steve, who lives in Buckingham, told how when the university was first proposed, with an independent status and two-year courses, it was breaking new ground.

Steve Haywood, left, and vice-chancellor James Tooley

He added: “Initially the Friends was set up to help integrate the town with the gown and a strong link was formed lasting till the present day.

"Over the years, students have been helped and lasting friendships formed.

"The greatest event for me was the granting of the Royal Charter in 1983, transforming the University from a university college to the University of Buckingham.

"Margaret Thatcher’s induction as chancellor was a further highlight.”

He added: "Anyone is welcome to join this thriving organisation and enjoy being part of a group with strong leadership.

"The university has come a very long way since the first intake of just 65 students in 1976.

"I’m privileged to have been a part of this journey.”

The Friends raise funds, through membership fees, events and donations that help enhance the life of students at the University of Buckingham, and award motivational student prizes every year.

Members enjoy a programme of social events and opportunities.

Anyone interested in becoming a Friend can find more details here.