Lisa Wilson receives honorary degree

The late Lisa Wilson has been awarded the honorary degree of Master of Business Administration by Solent University today (Thursday 11 July): Lisa’s father and mother, Clive and Tricia Wilson, received Lisa’s award.

Grit and determination, just some of Lisa’s amazing qualities, led her to study at Southampton Institute of Higher Education, now Solent University. In 1998, Lisa became the first ever member in her family to go to university. She spent three years at Solent working hard and as her father, Clive says, ‘standing on her own two feet’, which enabled her to graduate with a Second-Class Honours (First Division) in Business Management in 2001.

Her positivity and willingness to succeed, which led to her achievements at Solent, motivated Lisa to live a varied and independent lifestyle outside of university. Aside from her life-long ambition of travelling the world, Lisa loved sport and excelled at many, including golf, which saw her win the Gilbert Trophy at Wellow Golf club in 1997. Lisa was also a football fan through and through, and together with her family, held season tickets at The Dell at St Mary’s for five years. Her support for the Saints was recognised in 2003 when the family had a memorial paver put in place to honour Lisa’s memory.

Following Lisa’s tragic death in November 2002, when she was just 23 years’ old, the Wilson family set up the Lisa Wilson Scholarship Fund in memory of their daughter. Over the last 16 years, Lisa’s fund has enabled young people to access higher education who may not have been able to otherwise. Scholarships of £1,000 per year, for up to three years, have been available to Solent University students who have either overcome adversity or demonstrated the need for additional financial support with their studies.

Since Lisa’s death, an incredible £291,000 has been raised to support the educational needs of Solent students. In fact, almost 100 students have directly benefitted from Lisa’s fund, enabling them to fulfil their ambition to study and attend the same university that Lisa did, 21 years ago. Thanks to the support and dedication from Lisa’s family, her fund has made a major contribution to the development of the university and to the lives of many students.

Commenting on her award, Lisa’s father, Clive, said, “Receiving Lisa’s honorary degree is a huge moment for the Wilson family. I know that Lisa would have been very proud of not only this, but her fund which has allowed so many people to go to university and kickstart their careers.”

(Originally published on the Solent University website.

The Class of ’95 fundraiser raises £1220

On November 21st Lisa’s Class of ’95 at Hounsdown School, Totton had a school re-union and  fundraiser to raise money for the charity. It was also an opportunity to recognise their school mates who had not lived to see the event – seven students have died since they left Hounsdown in 1995. The event was attended by over one hundred people at Totton and Eling Social Club, including the parents of some of the deceased youths. The Band Driftwood were the main turn and provided great music on the night, supported by Joey Brenig-Jones and Mike Vaughn. The event was presented by Lynne White–whose idea it was to hold the event–and Clive Wilson, who also spoke about the charity. The entry fees and raffle and DVD sales helped bring the money raised on the night to  £1220; a great effort and many thanks to all concerned.

A letter from a parent

We recently received this letter from the mother of a student recently granted a bursary by the Scholarship Fund:

Hello Mr Wilson

Yesterday i attended Southampton Solent Uni with my son Garry Halsey who has just started a football degree, I just wanted to say how moved my son my daughter and myself was at the tribute that you and your family have paid to your Daughter . We all sat in tears watching the photos of Lisa and listening to her music ,WOW you are right she was amazing and she did light up the room . I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my Garry to fullfill his dream to go to uni and to be able to afford it . I love my job I work with adults with Learning difficulties but it does not pay to well ,but then sometimes money isnt everything obviously to Garry it is at the moment , so thank you again for stepping in where I could not. I can not begin to imagine the sadness that you and your family must feel over losing Lisa in such a tragic way but you have my every sympathy .The tribute is amazing and what a wonderful way to keep her memory alive .

Thank you

Caron Unwin-Lee
Garry Halsey’s mum

University mural in memory of Lisa

Mural in Lisa’s memory, designed by student Ed Brown

Following the bursary presentations, professor Van Gore dedicated a new area in the university to Lisa’s memory. The mural depicts Lisa’s free fall parachute jump whilst living her dream in New Zealand. It also has one of her hand drawn maps and her own words from her journal with her thoughts of the experience.. “jumping off was like falling into a dream”.

The mural is in a busy part of the university where students gather at this wireless hot spot and meeting point. There is also a plaque dedicated to Lisa. The Wilson family would like to express their gratitude to Professor Van Gore and the university for this most generous dedication.

The mural was designed by former Solent student Ed Brown.