“If you’re going to live,
leave a legacy.”

Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist (1928–2014)


“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”
Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist (1928–2014)

What does it mean to leave a legacy? It is about remembrance, it is about continuity, and most importantly what’s connecting the two into what is now.

There can be many different types of legacies, our story, the love we shared, the time we spent together, and so much more.

Our Legacy Newsletter pays tribute to Jean, Mark and so many other friends and alumni who wanted a gift in their will to the University of York to be part of their lasting legacy.

The University of York is immensely grateful for the generosity of its legacy benefactors and the life changing opportunities only made possible by the incredible donations made in their Will.

Thank you!

“That we must learn from our experiences is my key lesson from the past year or so. On a daily basis, I’ve been overwhelmed by how colleagues, students, our supporters and our graduates have pulled together as a community. 

We’ve been there for one another, we’ve rallied, we’ve gone beyond the extra mile and we have pulled through. Things have worked best when we’ve collaborated. We have provided reassurance through good communication. And by rigorously thinking about what we must prioritise we have made sure that, above all, we’ve looked out for the most vulnerable amongst us.

Planning for the unexpected is another key lesson. It has been challenging and there will inevitably be many more challenges ahead. But as we look to our uncertain future we know that with our community of committed friends and supporters we will determine what’s important, what we value, and what we need to do in order to do right by others and by our planet. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, the future offers an opportunity for renewal. I hope it will be a future where our campus, our teaching and learning, and our research will be an expression of how much we value community and sustainability. I hope that we will provide opportunities, raise aspirations, and strive for a fair and equal society.

By leaving a gift in your Will, you are part of that future. You can ensure we learn from the past and create a brighter and inclusive future”. 

- Mary Haworth,
Director, Office of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni (OPPA).


The University of York received 5 legacy gifts this past year and is immensely grateful to Jean Puckering, Mark Stevens, Thomas Gordon Reid, Trevor James, and Michael Carmody for sharing their vision and leaving a legacy to support York. 

Jean Puckering’s vision was to support 6 different areas across the University. Please read Jean’s story below.

Gordon Reid’s gift will establish the ‘Reid scholarship’ at Archaeology and also fund transformational initiatives both for the students and researchers at the Department of Archaeology. 

Michael Carmody’s gift will support Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media students through the York Futures Scholarships. 

Trevor James’ gift will support English and Related Literature students through the York Opportunity Scholarships (YOS).

Mark Stevens’ gift will support History and Goodricke college students during their studies here at York.

Thank you Jean, Gordon, Michael, Trevor, and Mark. You will always be remembered. 

Jean Puckering

April 1934 - October 2018

Jean in 1958

Jean in 1958

Jean on holiday

Jean on holiday

Jean in 2007

Jean in 2007

Jean's Biography

Jean was born in April 1934 to William and Lillian Bradley, she attended Poppleton Road school, and received a scholarship to attend Queen Ann's Grammar School. After leaving Queen Ann's Jean started at Sturges then Rowntree's as a laboratory chemist.

Jean then decided she would like to teach and went to a college in Leeds. Her first teaching job as a science teacher was at Burton Stone Lane and then went to Lowfield School where she stayed until she retired.

Jean's father died in 1957 and she continued to live with and look after her mother until she died in 1978. Jean Married in 1958 but unfortunately her husband was killed in an accident in 1976. Jean loved gardening , even had greenhouses at the school in which she taught.

Jean loved travelling with my father, her long-term partner of 38 yrs. She often drove hundreds of miles abroad in her little Fiat Panda and never batted an eye when touring mountainous narrow roads. They Visited France, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Croatia , Russia, China, India , Australia and New Zealand to name just a few. Jean loved Classical music and ballet and theatre and was a brilliant seamstress and a fantastic Knitter.

After retiring she joined a gardening club and since she loved anything to do with history she also worked as a volunteer guide at Fairfax House in York where she had an allotment growing most of her fruit and vegetables.

Linda Mckenzie, 19/01/2021
Jean Puckering’s stepdaughter

Legacy Gift

Jean passed away in October 2018. Without the University knowing, Jean had included it in her Will alongside other charities she cared for. 

Jean was very passionate about education and that is why she left a gift in her Will in memory of herself and her mum & dad. Jean was a real person, who was once someone’s daughter, someone’s teacher, someone’s loved one. The people who leave us a gift in their Will are real people, with real lives, with loved ones, and huge amounts of generosity and kindness. People like Jean are people like you and I. They were able to dream a future beyond them, they were able to provide for people they never met and will never meet. And that’s a great thing. And that is why we have a very serious responsibility to honour their legacy and make those wishes and dreams a reality.  

Thanks to Jean, all students in the Department are able to be quite literally on the same page, and no student needs to feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about not having their books in front of them. We couldn't be more grateful to Jean for opening up these transformative opportunities to our students.
Helen Smith, Head of Department of English and Related Literature

Jean wished for her legacy gift to support 6 different areas:

In memory of herself, Jean M. Puckering:

- The Department of Physics which funded a telescope to establish an observing capability in the Southern Hemisphere, in New South Wales, Australia.
- The Sports Facilities at York where a Heated Marquee & Changing Facilities. - Student Support which established Bursaries for Disabled Students & Funding for equipment they needed.

In memory of her mother and father W B Bradley:

- The Department of Music where an MA by Research scholarship was established to facilitate the integration into the Borthwick of a world-class music collection that is currently in private ownership.
- The Department of History which used Jean’s gift to support the History BA Undergraduate Scholarship & the Support of Online Engagement.
- The Department of English which was able to offer book bursaries for incoming first-year students in financial need and research book bursaries for third year and MA dissertation students

The funds received has enabled us to provide a covid-secure one way system and ensure that we can welcome over 1,300 children once again. This would not have been possible without the kind and generous donation received as part of Jean Puckering’s bequest and without this hugely generous gift York Sport would not be able to relaunch its swim programme. The impact that this support has made and will make is immeasurable
Keith Morris, Head of Sport

Mark T. Stevens

March 1958 - May 2020

We would like to pay a special tribute to the late Mark Stevens who passed away in May 2020 and whose legacy will live forever in the hearts and minds of the people at the Department of History, Goodricke College, and future students who will be supported by Mark’s generosity and thoughtfulness. 

We feel fortunate that we were able to thank Mark while he was still alive. Mark had shared with us that he had included the University of York in his Will and was a member of the Heslington Circle which is the University’s way of showing its appreciation to those who have included the University in their Will.

 Obituary - Mark T. Stevens

Mark was born on 27th March 1958 and was the eldest of five boys and brother to Neil, myself, Martin and Phil. He was a solid student and from the outset his passion was history and there was only one choice to study at University. He was an active member of Ilford wargaming society where he made lifelong friendships, similar to his school days and his knowledge of ancient history was unsurpassed and his moniker for online wargames was Septimus Oedenathus who I believe was the founder of Syria. On an early episode of Mastermind a contestant specialist subject was the 100 Years War; he got every question right which was indicative of his knowledge. 

He was an active member of the Prawn Ball quiz team which bestrode North and East London pubs for 30+ years and enjoyed a successful career in the City which enabled him to retire some five years ago. He loved smart attire and during the latter years thrived on a slight flamboyant dress sense with waistcoats, fob watches, cane, and an occasional monocle for effect. The more his friends and family commented on it the more he tried to impress us, wore the comments as a badge of honour, and took to wearing a cap to round off his look. The attached picture is my favourite and captures his look perfectly.

His illness, for him, was mercifully brief, but was very difficult to deal with especially during the first throes of COVID; I was the closest to him during this period and was with him in palliative care for days at the time. His funeral was attended by the maximum number of 20 but we held a celebration of life in September, in between lockdowns on a beautiful sunny day and 60 of us gathered, exactly as he told me to and raise a glass, eat quails eggs, smoked salmon and pork pies and I made them listen to Johnny Cash for eight hours as was his final request!

Andrew Stevens
Mark Stevens’s brother

Mark enjoying a pint with friends

Mark enjoying a pint with friends


Will-writing services

The University of York has partnered with Beyond to offer a quick and easy online Will-writing service for anyone living in England and Wales. Their award-winning Will-writing service normally costs £90, but is available to our supporters with a 25% discount by using the promotional code: YORKUNI25

If you wish to write your online will with Beyond and take advantage of our discount offer find out more below:

The Heslington Circle

Heslington Circle

The University of York is incredibly thankful to its Heslington Circle members for their consideration in including it in their will and to everyone considering doing so. 

16 people have already been in touch this year alone, almost double the number of last year, to let us know that they have decided to include a gift in their will to the University of York. During these difficult and unprecedented times, it was truly surprising and inspirational to hear how passionate people felt about their time at York and what they aspire their legacy to be. 

We would love to welcome you to our Heslington Circle community and join people like Christine, whose story you can read below.

Christine Maddern, Heslington Circle Member

Lunch at Bettys is a perfect way to celebrate 50 years of friendship! Christine Maddern and friends Janet, Lynne, Brenda and Margaret, met at the University of York back in 1966 and have been friends ever since. 

Christine has included the University in her will and here she explains why: 

I received several bursaries while I was doing my MA and really benefited from them. Partly it was the confidence shown in me, a disabled student, that gave me help. So I'd like others to get the same help.

As an undergraduate, I was supported by a grant and my family. Without their backing, I would not have been able to study. So again, I want others to enjoy their courses without struggling with debt. I have no children of my own, so these are my surrogate children, education-wise.

Most important: I believe in the power of education to change lives for the better, and want to make it happen.

Christine Maddern with friends Brenda, Margaret and Lynne (and their husbands), plus the late Malcolm Bell, 2007

Christine Maddern with friends Brenda, Margaret and Lynne (and their husbands), plus the late Malcolm Bell, 2007

Christine Maddern with friends Brenda, Margaret and Lynne, 1969. She is the second one from the left, in blue.

Christine Maddern with friends Brenda, Margaret and Lynne, 1969. She is the second one from the left, in blue.

Mikki (Michaella Xavier-Jackson) 2nd Year, Theatre Film and Television

Mikki (Michaella Xavier-Jackson) 2nd Year, Theatre Film and Television

Lauren (Lauren Cheetham-Birmingham) 2nd Year, English and History

Lauren (Lauren Cheetham-Birmingham) 2nd Year, English and History

Mikki & Lauren 

In January, we decided to do something special for our Heslington Circle members. We asked two current students, Mikki (Michaella Xavier-Jackson) 2nd Year, Theatre Film and Television, and Lauren (Lauren Cheetham-Birmingham) - 2nd Year, English and History, to call our lovely community of legacy pledgers and thank them on behalf of the University of York for their support. 

The experience was delightful not only for our members, but for our students too! Read about their experience below. 

What is the nicest comment you heard from a Heslington Circle member?

Mikki: That I had a pleasant voice to listen to and made for interesting conversation

Lauren: I can't count the number of lovely comments about university life from the Heslington Circle members. It made me feel even more confident York was the right choice for me and reminded me how deeply a positive university experience shapes people's lives.

What aspects of the calling did you like the most?

Mikki: Talking to people with a close affiliation to the University

Lauren: I enjoyed how positive many of the calls included amusing anecdotes.

Please give us your thoughts on your overall experience. 

Mikki: I think that calling first and foremost for stewardship made a nice change from our usual fundraising calls. Whilst these are incredibly important and still enjoyable, it's a great way to show alumni - and members of Heslington Circle especially - that we value them for reasons more than just how much money they can give.

Lauren: I had a really wonderful time being part of this project and I enjoyed it so much. It was a new and different experience for me that I really valued, thank you!

Gifts and legacies of all sizes are helping to transform our University. Wherever your passions lie, you can choose how your gift will be used to create your lasting legacy.

If you are still considering the idea of leaving a gift in your Will and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me in this email address: kalliopi.keramari@york.ac.uk

If you want to see more stories such as Jean’s and Mark’s follow the link below to view them on Instagram.

If you have included a gift in your Will to the University of York, or are considering doing so, please get in touch with me at kalliopi.keramari@york.ac.uk. If you have not already let me know of your intentions, I would love to hear from you.

You can read February's newsletter here for more amazing stories from around the University.