St Mary’s University: Together When We Are Apart

This unprecedented period of lockdown is making me incredibly grateful to be part of the St Mary’s University community. I have always known that St Mary’s has incredible staff and students, but perhaps now more than ever staff and students have been sharing moments and anecdotes from their lives with gusto, humour and imagination. So here are a few stories from our lock down heroes!

The alumnus of the Foundation Degree in Practitioners in Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care at St Mary’s, Alfred Banya, was featured in The Sunday Times for his work in the NHS. The feature, titled ‘Heroes of the NHS’, showed the amazing work Alfred was providing to patients being treated for Coronavirus. Another great example of St Mary’s engaging with the community during this crisis, is the physiotherapy team at St Mary’s who have been providing cardiorespiratory expertise to NHS physiotherapists in intensive care units. St Mary’s is very proud of alumna, paramedic Tayla Porter, who received her own #ClapForTheNHS as she left work.

The MA in Sports Journalism team have been recording a brilliant weekly podcast called Sports Gazette. This week Alex Bartlett discusses the postponed Olympics and the England and GB rugby sevens player Abi Lucy Burton talks about her Tokyo dream, training in lockdown and her future ambitions.

St Mary’s alumnus, Tom Grennan, the famous singer whose album Lighting Matches debuted at No 5 in the charts, has been helping his local food banks deliver food for those in need in Bedford and Shoreditch.

Drama at St Mary’s has launched an online showcase for 2020 drama school graduates: All in one place and all for free! The online innovation at St Mary’s has been incredibly inspiring. Body Coach alumnus Joe Wicks has been recording keep fit videos. The Programme Director for Creative Writing and novelist, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has been providing online writing exercises on Slack, and all the lecturers have been delivering their lectures via Zoom. English lecturer and poet, Jo Harker, has been interviewing poets online. Louise Fein and five other debut authors discussed their route to publication, and the challenges of trying to launch a book in the current environment, in an online Stay At Home Literary Festival. Webinars, recorded lectures, music video watch parties, ‘Ask An Academic’ features, online tidiest work space competitions, YouTube videos including Amy Louise Peach whose YouTube, Little Learners channel helps teachers with creative lessons for children in early education; all this inspiring online activity shows that we can be together when we are apart.

Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
Contact: Twitter: @runkerry

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