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People’s Fellow winner announced

08 Gorffennaf 2008

Margaret McCarter Jervis and Graham Benfield

Margaret McCarter Jervis has become the first Cardiff University People’s Fellow.

The special Fellowship, awarded at Graduation 2008 as part of the University’s 125th anniversary celebrations alongside this year’s other new Fellows, recognises an individual who has demonstrated a sustained and positive contribution to their local community through their activities.

The founder and operational director of community development organisation Valleys Kids, Margaret was selected from nominations sent in by readers of the South Wales Echo. A panel of judges which included the University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant, Strategic Development Director, Louise Casella, President of the Students’ Union, Johnny Cox, and editor of the South Wales Echo, Mike Hill, made the selection.

On hearing she had become the People’s Fellow, Margaret said: "I was overwhelmed and honoured that I was nominated by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. For my peers to consider recommending me for this Fellowship makes it even more special.

"While I am receiving this honour it is really a tremendous recognition of the work of the organisation and of everyone connected with Valleys Kids. Personally, having left school at 15 with no qualification, I never dreamt I would ever be considered worthy to receive a Fellowship. I feel very privileged and honoured to receive the People's Fellowship from Cardiff University."

Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant said: "This is the first time a University Fellowship has been awarded on the basis of nominations from the public. We’d like to thank the South Wales Echo and the Students’ Union for their work in helping create this special Fellowship, in our 125th anniversary year.

"All the nominations were of a very high standard indeed, making our decision very tough. I very much look forward to awarding the Fellowship to recognise Margaret’s achievements and her ongoing successes across our local communities."

Graham Benfield, Chief Executive of WCVA said: "I know of no other person in Wales, who has made such a successful and sustained contribution to community activity in the valleys. Since 1977, not only has she established a multi-faceted organisation, which has changed the lives of thousands of people, particularly young people, but she has used this experience to champion and articulate the grass roots needs of communities and young people at a national level, and has been instrumental in achieving significant policy change."

Click here to read more about Margaret’s story.