New Cross Fire university bursaries awarded

The four recipients of the Mayors New Cross Award. Pic, Goldsmiths, Univeristy of London

The four recipients of the Mayor’s New Cross Award. Pic: Goldsmiths, University of London

A writer, two local volunteers, and a young artist have won funded places to study at Goldsmiths through a scheme created in memory of those who died in the New Cross fire.

The Mayor’s New Cross Award was created in memory of the 14 people who died in the 1981 fire. It supplies four Lewisham residents each year with £5,000 to go towards the cost of their studies, as well as a fee waiver.

The New Cross fire took place on January 18, 1981 at a 16th birthday party on New Cross Road, 14 young black people died between the ages of 14 and 22.

The recipients are selected based on academic merit and their commitment to study. This year, Jaffar Aly, Murtaza Begi, William James Cook, and Rebecca Plummer were the chosen academics.

The Warden of Goldsmiths, Patrick Loughrey, told EastLondonLines: “The bursaries we awarded today are founded in the memory of those who lost their lives 35 years ago.”

“No better monument is imaginable than to support four bright young people from this community. I’m proud to welcome Jaffar, Murtaza, William and Rebecca to Goldsmiths. I hope their time here opens new chapters for them and for us.”

Plummer has lived in Lewisham for 18 years and has two children. She is a writer who consistently works to support the community, and has been inspired to become a teacher.

She said: “When I was a refuge I saw many children who didn’t get the right encouragement and support… and that’s why I made the decision to become a teacher. I want to help children in Lewisham as much as I can.”

Aly is a volunteer for Lewisham, specifically working with children and the elderly. In addition to studying Anthropology at Goldsmiths, he also wants to be a student representative.

Begi, who is from Afghanistan, works with his local mosque, and has also supported local MP Heidi Alexander during her 2015 campaign. He is enrolled in politics.

Cook, who faces mobility issues from an accident, is studying fine art. The aftermath of his accident has inspired his artistic expression.

Find out more about bursaries at Goldsmiths here.

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