South Shields business boss thanked for support to Marine School

The chairman of a South Tyneside business paid a visit to South Shields Marine School after making a donation to its charity.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 1:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 8:38 am
John Lightfoot, right, is welcomed to South Shields Marine School.

Solar Solve Marine’s John Lightfoot was invited to meet some of the people involved in the school’s Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund.

He was updated on the its progress by Les Watson, the founder and fund chairman, and then introduced to other committee members and Muraleedharan Balakrishnan, a student who has benefitted from the fund through a loan and grant.

He was told of other students who have been helped, with the Hardship Fund segment being the most utilised so far.

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Mr Watson said: “In most cases of genuine hardship, the difference between a student being able to complete their course successfully or not, is often only a matter of providing a grant of less than £100 up to a few hundred pounds.”

Mr Lightfoot said: “This is my second visit to the marine school to meet up with Les and learn more about the charitable fund and once again I am really impressed with everyone’s commitment to it.

“I first attended the marine school as a marine engineer cadet in 1959 and am now a Fellow.

“I was born, live and work in South Shields and am very proud of my town, its people, our attitude towards the thousands of foreign students who visit every year and most especially the 156-year-old South Shields Marine School, which is now part of South Tyneside College.”

“It is with the greatest of pride and pleasure that Solar Solve Marine continues to support the college and the Dr. Winterbottom Charitable Fund.”

Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom was born in South Shields, worked in Sierra Leone for three years, was a local GP for 27 years then retired and spent the next 35 years closely involved with local charitable and educational work.

He made a major contribution to a number of the town’s charities but is most famous as the founder of South Shields Marine School which opened in 1861, two years after his death.

The fund is managed by a committee of governors, students and staff to reflect the remit of the college, which is to support its students locally, nationally and internationally with issues like health and wellbeing; business start-up and learning hardship.

The latter is designed to overcome barriers to learning by providing small grants to individual students who may need short term help to aid their education progression.

The charity can be contacted on 0191 427 3717 or email [email protected]