Name a Seat stories: Family giving

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Two red theatre seats together in focus amongst several other red seats.
Seats pictured are not exact to those which will be in the Tung Auditorium.

As part of the University of Liverpool’s new Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, alumni and friends of the University are invited to name a seat in the 400-seat Tung Auditorium. Many of these seats have been given in loving memory of family members, and we are pleased to share the stories behind the dedicated seats gifted by the Graham and Mawdsley families.

University of Liverpool alumnus and long-term supporter Chris Graham (BA History 1973) grew up with music as a cathedral chorister and then music scholar, and enjoyed attending Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Concerts conducted by Charles Groves during his time at the University.

However, Chris found another passion at Liverpool: "Instead of singing and playing my ‘cello, I got involved in Guild politics – and City Council politics too. My History degree was a fine foundation for a career in media and public service. On my retirement as UK Information Commissioner four years ago, I was happy to serve a term as Vice-President of the university Council – 45 years after having served as President of Guild."

Chris is dedicating his seats in memory of his wife Mary’s parents, John and Joan Crockett who served in Atlantic Convoys and the WRNS, respectively. The seats dedicated to John and Joan will be next to that of Mary’s sister Penny and her husband and University alumnus David Mawdsley (LLB Hons 1966), who has named a seat in memory of his mother, alumna Olwen Mawdsley (BA Hons History 1930).

David said: "My mother was the first person on either side of our family to go to University, but she established a precedent for subsequent generations to follow… Long may the family tradition continue." After graduating from the University of Liverpool, David practised as a solicitor in the City for over 30 years. He also has a passion for music as a long serving member of the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union and organist.

In naming a seat, Chris and David are not only supporting their musical interests and helping students to pursue their artistic and academic dreams, but leaving a lasting legacy for their family members. Carolyn Jones, Legacy Officer at the University of Liverpool said: "Naming a seat is an extraordinary way to celebrate the life of a loved one. We are extremely privileged that Chris and David have chosen to support the University of Liverpool in such a unique way, which demonstrates the bond between the University and its wonderful alumni."

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters like the Graham and Mawdsley families, the University has almost reached its fundraising target for the new Yoko Ono Lennon Centre with just £900,000 left to raise. To find out how you can play your part, click here.