Spotlight on University of Leicester students and community projects for royal visit

Today (Wednesday 28 November), Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the city in tribute to last month's helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club.

Following a visit to the King Power Stadium, they will meet some of the University's Centenary Scholars. The Scholarships have been awarded to students who have overcome adversity or made sacrifices for the good of others. Each Centenary Scholar has been awarded a £1,000 scholarship to help them with their studies. The group of Centenary Scholars will talk to Their Royal Highnesses about the impact of the support they have received and experiences at the University so far.

In a group discussion led by University of Leicester Students’ Union President, Amy Moran, the royal couple will also meet a cross-section of students to chat about life at Leicester. They will sit and engage with a group of current students, who will talk about their studies, experiences and future aspirations.

The Duke and Duchess will also meet with representatives from two University community projects with links to Leicester City Football Club – Heartwize and Leicester City Science Stars.


Heartwize is a unique, charitably-funded, resuscitation training programme, in which a team of volunteers is working throughout the county to provide schoolchildren, community groups, members of sports clubs and local businesses with essential lifesaving skills.

The Duke will meet with Heartwize Co-Directors, Dr William Toff, Associate Professor in Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Dr Doug Skehan, Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, to find out more about the initiative, which was created to address the extremely poor survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK.

Dr Toff said: "The Heartwize programme aims to ensure that every school-leaver in the county and others in the wider community know how to recognise and respond to a cardiac arrest. This will ultimately increase the bystander response rate, which should save many thousands of lives. Heartwize has made a huge impact locally and we are now developing plans to extend the programme to other regions.

"Heartwize has also provided every secondary school in Leicestershire and Rutland with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and training in its use. This serves not only as invaluable first-aid equipment when needed but also ensures that the students are made aware of the importance of an AED and know how to use one, which will bring about a much needed cultural change.”

Leicester City Football Club has worked closely with, and supported, Heartwize from the start. The Heartwize team has provided half-time CPR demonstrations on the pitch of the King Power Stadium during Premier League matches and provided hands-on training for the Club’s staff.

Club ambassador Alan Birchenall has been a particularly keen supporter of the programme and saw its benefits first-hand when his life was saved by an AED when he had a cardiac arrest during an awards ceremony last year.

The Duke will see a CPR demonstration led by Julie Young, Heartwize Programme Co-ordinator and Lorna Sandison, a final-year Medical Student at the University and a Heartwize volunteer trainer.

Leicester City Science Stars

Leicester City Science Stars is a new education programme developed as part of the Premier League Science Stars programme, led by the LCFC Community Trust. Using the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs, the initiative inspires children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

The programme is also aimed at supporting teachers in local schools who may require additional knowledge, understanding and practical ideas for learning. The University’s focus is to inspire young children to study and explore science.

Their Royal Highnesses will find out more about the programme by meeting Dr Suzie Imber, Associate Professor in Space Physics and winner of BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do you have what it takes? Dr Imber launched the programmer earlier this year alongside former Leicester City player Matt Elliott, where 30 primary schoolchildren explored what it would take to become an astronaut.

Dr Imber said: "The idea is to get schoolchildren interested in science and thinking about what they could do in their future at this age, when they’re still impressionable. During the launch day, we tested the schoolchildren for skills they need to be an astronaut, but also to be a footballer; things like quick reactions, memory and whether they work well in a team."

The Duchess of Cambridge will also find out more club Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Leicester City Football Club’s £1 million support for the University’s efforts to treat and research life-threatening illnesses. This includes the creation of the Leicester City Football Club Professorship in Child Health – the only such post ever to be funded through a football club.

They will end their visit by meeting members of the crowd as they walk through the University’s new Centenary Square, which was officially opened earlier this month by Sir David Attenborough OM and his nephew Michael Attenborough CBE.