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Durham First

News in Brief

Faith and Globalisation Initiative

Tony Blair has launched a new initiative at Durham University to develop greater understanding of different faiths, cultures and forces of globalisation.

Durham is the first UK University to establish a Faith and Globalisation programme following the establishment of similar initiatives at Yale in the USA and The National University of Singapore. The programme is being funded by a new University donor programme and will bring together leading academics from across the faculties of humanities, social sciences and science to carry out global research that will help inform international policies in the future.

The initiative will draw on the University's strengths as a multi-cultural institution and its world class teaching and research in areas such a Theology and Religion and Government and International Affairs. The programme ultimately aims to increase understanding of different faiths and cultures so people from a variety of backgrounds can work closely to tackle the cultural, economic, ethical and political challenges faced by a globalised world.

£500,000 grant from Sport England

The much-needed Maiden Castle Sports Centre extension project has received a very welcome boost in the form of a £500,000 grant, secured by the Development Office's Karen Kirkup and Sport Director Peter Warburton.

Biddy Baxter MBE: Dear Blue Peter 

Celebrated former editor of children's programme, Blue Peter, and Durham Alumna Biddy Baxter MBE (BA Social and Public Administration, St. Mary's College 1952-55) has recently published a book, Dear Blue Peter: The Best Of 50 Years Of Letters To Britain's Favourite Children's Programme 1958-2008.

Biddy was responsible for much of the content still used in the programme today - she founded the Blue Peter badge - and in this delightful, humorous and original volume, she introduces some of the very best letters she received during her time as Blue Peter editor. The book provides an endearing snapshot of children's lives and concerns, from a vast range of backgrounds, in the second half of the twentieth century.

Coincidentally, another Durham alumna has been head of Children's TV at the BBC. Lorraine Heggessey (BA English Literature, Collingwood, 1975-78) is now CEO at production company Talkback Thames.

Paul Grant receives knighthood

Durham alumnus and inspirational head teacher of Robert Clack School of Science, Dagenham, Paul Grant (PGCE, Van Mildert 1978-79) has received a Knighthood earlier this year for services to local and national education.

Angel of the Apostrophe

The Telegraph has recently dubbed Durham alumnus, Stefan Gatward (MA Theology and Ministry, Ushaw College 2003-05), the Angel of the Apostrophe after his penchant for grammatical pedantry led him to amend a street sign.

Stefan, not content with living on St Johns Close, picked up a paintbrush and changed it to the correct St John's Close. Despite some neighbours' complaints that his addition amounts to vandalism, Stefan is sticking firmly to his guns, saying that he is fighting for "the preservation and heritage of our language."

Landmark bridge opens in style

The award winning Infinity Bridge at Stockton-on-Tees was officially opened earlier this year with an exciting extravaganza of entertainment, music and fireworks. People from across Tees Valley and the wider North-East were invited to the riverbanks to see the stunning bridge illuminated in all its glory for the first time.

The Infinity Bridge is a stunning addition to the area's skyline, spanning the River Tees and providing a high quality, safe, pedestrian link between Queen's Campus and the North Shore where the University has purchased an option on four acres of land.

The bridge development was a partnership between Tees Valley Regeneration and Stockton Borough Council.


In the feature entitled 'Probably the Oldest Fairtrade Shop in the World' in Issue 26 (page 14) the founding of the St. John's Fairtrade shop was attributed to 'a team of students' when in fact it was founded by the Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of The Open Episcopal Church. Durham First apologises for this error.