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People and Organisations
Helena Kennedy

The Widening Participation Committee is part of The Further Education Funding Council aimed at promoting access to further education for people who do not participate in, but would benefit from, education and training.

Wallace, R Duncan

R. Duncan Wallace was President of the Institute of Heating and Ventilating.

Borton, Desmond Gilbert
Person · 1919-1999

Desmond Gilbert Borton was born in his grandparents’ home in Ealing in July 1919, and grew up in Knollys Road, Streatham. He attended the New School in Streatham, which was the first Rudolf Steiner school in the UK, and on leaving school around 1936 went to the School of Building in Brixton.
In May 1939 Borton joined the Territorial Army in Croydon, and wen to Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force in April 1940. On 31st May that year he was evacuated from Dunkirk to Ramsgate, and was subsequently based at Tenterden in Kent as a Mechanical transport/driver in the Royal Army Service Corps. In 1942 he was deployed to North Africa, travelling via Cape Town, and served running supplies from Sudan across the desert to Tobruk, Tripoli, Alexandria and Cairo with the Sudanese Defence Force.
On being demobbed in April 1946, Borton returned to his grandparents’ home in Ealing and began working for Page and Overton Brewery and resuming his architecture studies at night school. He designed a number of houses in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, including the family home at Woodcote Close in Epsom, before qualifying as ARIBA in June 1955.
After qualifying he worked on a number of buildings for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, including AWRE Aldermaston in 1955-1956 and the Safety in Mines Research Building in Sheffield in 1960-1962. In 1962-63 he worked n the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and then the Surface Mines Research dust explosion gallery in Buxton, before going to work at HQ BAOR, Rheindahlen, Germany in November 1964. Borton subsequently worked on a number of schools and other buildings on Army bases before returning to the UK to work for the Department of the Environment at Croydon in 1969. He worked on the Ship Tank at Feltham, RAF Lossiemouth, Odium and then prisons and young offenders establishments, including Feltham.
In 1981 he retired to Bosham in West Sussex, and died in June 1999.

Compiled with thanks to his daughter, Diana Ashe (nee Borton).

Person · 1940-

Rt. Rev Dr Tom Butler was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters of the University in 2005. He was the ninth Anglican Bishop of Southwark from 1998-2010.

Puri, Nathu: Professor
Person · 1939-

Professor Nathu Puri was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science of the University in 2007.

Professor Nathu Puri is a successful industrialist and entrepreneur, renowned philanthropist and devoted supporter of education. He is one of the most powerful Asian businessmen in Britain and an alumnus of the national College of Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering, which makes him an alumnus of London South Bank University and thus a great role model for our students.

Born in Chandigarh in the Punjab, Nat's family had fallen on hard times. Most observer agree that the seeds of Nat's later ambition and success were probably planted young, watching the collapse of his father's banking business after partition in India in 1947. As a Hindu in a predominantly Muslim area, his father lost most of his money as many of his clients either fled to Pakistan or were the victims of communal violence.

"There were no debtors left, only creditors", Nat Puri recalled.

Eventually, after years of struggle, he himself left India at the age of 27 with a degree in pure maths and little money in his pocket. And it was to the National College that he came and studied and, he now says, profited from the excellent teaching there. After leaving the College, he joined the long-established Nottingham firm F G Skerritt where he worked as an engineer. As the story goes, in 1975 his life took a major turn. He had made a proposal for some new business in the Middle East and when the company declined he walked out with a month's salary. Turning round a property deal, he set up a consultancy which flourished. Eight years later he had bought out his former employer.

And from then on, the story is well known as Melton Meedes, his holding company, now part of the bigger Purico Group of Companies, set out on the acquisition trail. With a small staff in Nottingham, which has become his adopted home, the company gradually became an empire.

With extraordinary single-mindedness, he showed no qualms about the size of any potential new business. He is said to have bid for the likes of Rover and the former British Shipbuilders' yard in Sunderland, despite having no experience of either the car or shipping industry. He didn't get these particular companies, but his capacity to surprise is famous. His interest are extraordinarily diverse and global – from car badges like Mercedes, to waste products, from textiles to cigarette papers and from engineering and construction, including steel fabrication and air-conditioning units, to printing – a subsidiary company printed Variety and Billboard in the United States. Questioned about the logic of such a wide range of activities, his answer is simple – business is business.

But he has also sought to use his wealth and influence in pursuit of those things he values, chiefly education. In 1988 he set up the Puri Foundation, a charitable trust, with an initial donation of 1 million [pounds], The foundation invests in projects close to his heart, particularly involving technology and education. He strongly supports schools and the education of young people. Most recently, together with Toyota, the Puri Foundation has created an Engineering Centre at Top Valley School in Nottingham, providing training and education to young apprentices in the county. He has also made generous donations to Nottingham University, where he has been awarded the title of Special Professor in the Business School. He has also set up a Scholarship fund at this university, in commemoration of the role the National College played in his own development.

He has also been generous to political parties; although he is a well-known benefactor of the Labour Party, he has also supported Ken Clarke for the Conservative leadership, and it has even been suggested that he is watching the Liberal context with interest. This, of course, says much for his even-handedness and his adroitness. And indeed his significance for all political parties.

His dedication to India remains enormous. In 1999 he and Gulam Noon presented the President of India with a collection they had bought at auction in Sotheby's of hitherto unpublished letters from Gandhi to Maulana Abdul Bari, an Islamic scholar, leader of the Khilafat Movement (1920-22) and founder of the Jamiat-e-Ulema. This was at a time when the President Narayanan was endeavouring to encourage inter-religious understanding and in the letters Ghandi makes a passionate plea for communal friendship, something with which Nat Puri clearly identifies from his own personal experience.

Recently is has been said that his support for Indian charity is unsurpassed. He gave a million pounds to the Gujarat Earthquake appeal in 200. And he is genuinely concerned about tribal illiteracy in India, particularly the 150 million adivasi tribal people living in remote regions in India without health care and literacy. He has embarked on a project to bring education and medical care to these people and he is currently developing a higher education institution in northern India.

But cricket, especially Indian cricket, is also a great passion. Indeed he is said to have two boxes in Trent Bridge and the Indian Express, faced with a sudden dearth of tickets for the Test Matches, suggested that it was time to be even nicer to Nat than usual.

In his book the magic of Indian cricket, Mihir Bose recalls a dinner hosted in 2004 by Nat Puri in honour of the Indian team. Nat had promised £50,000 for the first Indian to get a triple century in a Test match and as the keen followers of the game here will recall, Veeru Sehwag, the unconventional batsman, became the first – with 309 against Pakistan in Multan and of course helping India to its highest ever 675 for five against Pakistan.

Conran, Terence; Sir
Person · 1931-2020

Sir Terence was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sciences of the University in 2007.

Sir Terence Conran CH RDI FCSD was an English designer, restaurateur, retailer and writer. Conran's first professional work came when he worked in the Festival of Britain (1951) on the main South Bank site. He left college to take up a job with Dennis Lennon's architectural company, which had been commissioned to make a 1/4-scale interior of a Princess Flying Boat. Conran started his own design practice in 1956 with the Summa furniture range and designing a shop for Mary Quant.

In 1964, he opened the first Habitat shop in Chelsea, London with his then wife Caroline Herbert, focusing on housewares and furniture in contemporary designs. Habitat grew into a large chain, the first retailer to bring such designs to a mass audience. Conran had a major role in the regeneration in the early 1990s of the Shad Thames area of London next to Tower Bridge that includes the Design Museum, which he founded in 1989.

Ethelm House

Ethelm House (Waterloo Centre) was situated on Cornwall Road and leased by South Bank University until the late 1990s. It was used as teaching space, primarily for short courses.