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Roy Ludlow – legacy pledger

 July 11, 2018 | Simon Jenkins


Roy Ludlow (French 1967) believes the culture of learning at Leeds has shaped some of the University’s greatest achievements – and he has pledged a gift in his will to open the opportunity for study to others:

“While everyone’s experience of Leeds will be unique, my own time over 50 years ago proved that Leeds encourages its students to learn by investigation and look beyond what everyone else sees. It is an approach that has resulted in the most incredible achievements – making the seemingly impossible, possible.

“Four Nobel Laureates have worked or studied at the University of Leeds. They were awarded prizes in chemistry, physics, and literature – and one contributed to a project that won a Nobel Peace Prize.

“Leeds was one of the first universities to invest in a computer back in the 1950s, and one of the most important scientific progressions of the 20th century occurred here, when William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg discovered the structure of crystals using x-ray technology. This paved the way for new discoveries in the years to come, including the structure of DNA.

“But for me, Leeds was much more than scientific breakthroughs – it was a cultural awakening. I came from a working-class background in East London, and was the first person in my family to be in education beyond the age of 15. Actually, I was the only child in our whole street who went to university.

“It was a simply wonderful experience; it was always a big university and one can find advantages in that – with size comes great vibrancy and diversity. Wherever one wanted to develop a skill or interest, it was possible. For the first time in my life I experienced light opera and came to love the Gilbert and Sullivan productions put on by the Light Opera Society. I also played a lot of football.

“Leeds still looms very large in a very positive way in my life. I want others – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds and difficult circumstances – to be able to enjoy such a life-enhancing experience too.

“I come from a time when we had grants, and I do not know if I could have accepted my place without that help. My education led to a very fulfilling career in teaching, culminating with 15 years as a headmaster.

“Education is enabling – it enables people to learn about themselves, to discover their innate skills, to learn about this world and the wonders of science, arts, music and literature. It is our duty to spread it to the furthest echelons.

“Of course, when making a Will, family and friends come first. Moreover, my objective is to make everyone in my Will wait a long time for it! But I like to think it is supporting young people who, in their turn by virtue of their education, will be in a position to support others.

“They will be in my position in years to come and will be able to do things to help the world.”

Roy Ludlow – legacy pledger