The James Brownhill Memorial Fund

Over the past few years, our sports clubs, students and members of staff have invested an incredible amount of time to charitable work dedicated to students, both past and present.

We are so proud of how much energy and enthusiasm our current students, members of staff and alumni dedicate to supporting these incredible causes.

Because of this pride, this week, in line with us being the BUCS University in Focus, we would like to tell you more about this charitable work in more depth.

The James Brownhill Memorial Fund

James Bownhill 2
James Brownhill

The James Brownhill Memorial Fund started following the death of alumnus, James Brownhill, in a climbing accident on Mont Blanc, two days after receiving his Physiotherapy degree award from Manchester Metropolitan University.

His climbing partner, fellow alumnus David Evans, also died in the accident.

James was an avid climber and mountaineer and, along with David, was an active and committed member of a number of sports clubs at MMU, including mountaineering, hockey and skydiving.

James constantly stove to improve his skills and ability in climbing and mountaineering, devoting time to helping others progress in the sport.

Recognising individuals in memory of James

In James’ memory, the Physiotherapy department created a Clinical Excellence Award and The Union created the Brownhill-Evans Memorial Award, an award that recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to student opportunities.

James’ father, Gary Brownhill, said, “MMU has played a massive part in keeping both James and David’s memory alive and supporting us; his family.”

The James Brownhill Memorial Fund supports both these awards by providing a financial award, bursaries and a reliable point of reference for all those voluntarily teaching climbing at University, including a number of courses, which are delivered by Plas y Brenin and at CCG centres

Money for the fund is raised in a number of different ways, including the sale of climbing insurance, greeting cards and a series of events.  Through this fundraising, generous donations and sponsorship, the fund is currently able to provide bursaries for the next 20 years.

The funds go towards a number of different aspects, including supporting the bursary, providing donations to meet the medical costs of treating people rescued by the Edale Mountain Rescue, the MMU Phsyiotherapy Award for Clinical Excellence, vouchers for the winner of the Brownhill-Evans award and goalkeeping coaching for Abbeydale Hockey Club.

Gary added, “The fund awards bursaries for climbing courses and we know over 20 student volunteer leaders who have benefitted from the courses.  We feel the training that these students receive is something that would be close to James’ heart.

“James would have been so humbled by this support and proud to be able to help those who played such a massive part in his life.  As his family, we feel the same and are happy to still be involved with supporting MMU wherever possible.”

Supporting the MMU Mountaineering Club

James and Morgan
James Matthews Hiskett and Morgan Little climbing in the Peak District

With his voluntary contribution making a significant impact, James’ legacy has lived on through the MMU Mountaineering Club and has helped create a club culture that is a great example to all MMU Sport clubs.

This year, two of the club’s committee members, James Matthews Hiskett and Morgan Little, have benefitted from the University’s Coach Education bursary and are in the process of applying to receive bursaries from the James Brownhill Memorial Fund to financially support the next part of their Single Pitch award.

James Matthews Hiskett said, “Through volunteering within the club, we decided to apply for the University’s Coach Education bursary scheme to begin earning our Single Pitch Award (SPA), an internationally recognised outdoor coaching and supervision qualification for climbing.

“Over the last few months, Morgan and I have been on a number of trips to the Peak District to log the necessary climbs we need to qualify for the course, alongside undertaking our normal activities as part of the committee.

“We are now ready to go on the two day training course, which will be an exciting weekend in Snowdonia, learning from experienced instructors.  We hope to use the award to support the club when going on trips outdoors.”

To find out more about the James Brownhill Memorial fund, visit the fund’s website.

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