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Nurse who inspired Live Aid opens multi-million pound state-of-the-art teaching facility


The nurse who inspired Bob Geldof to put together the Band Aid charity record and subsequent Live Aid concerts has officially opened DMU’s new £6.3 million state-of-the-art healthcare teaching facility.

Dr Dame Claire Bertschinger opened Edith Murphy House, which will house students and staff from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, on 18 October 2011.

Claire was working as an International Red Cross nurse in Ethiopia during the famine of 1984 when she was approached by BBC news reporter Michael Buerk.

She became the central figure of his report which shocked the world and started Geldof’s pursuit to raise money for the country.

Today she teaches at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from DMU in 2009.

The new Edith Murphy House has been completely transformed from the building that had previously stood in its place.

Outside, new windows have been installed and a glass extension has been built which creates a new entrance to the building.

Internally, students benefit from new state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities with lecture theatres that are equipped with the latest technologies.

The building has been named after local business woman and philanthropist Edith Murphy (1915-2005).

The Edith Murphy Foundation has given close to £1 million over the years to DMU for vital research into life threatening diseases including cancer and diabetes, in particular the artificial pancreas currently being developed at the university.

The renovation of Edith Murphy House has also enabled students and staff from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, who were previously located at the Charles Frears Campus, to be based at the city campus.

New practical suites which include hospital, house and community set ups and laboratories have also been installed for use by the faculty in the Hawthorn Building.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Dr Dame Claire Bertschinger said: “As an honorary graduate of DMU it is a great pleasure to return to Leicester and participate in the opening ceremony of the Edith Murphy House.

“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Edith Murphy, who, through her own life experiences realised the importance of supporting health research and studies and it is fitting that a building which will be used for such work is named in her honour.”

Professor Mandy Ashton, pro-vice chancellor and dean of Health and Life Sciences, said: “There has never been a more important time for our students as we equip them for our caring professions and scientific careers.  I am so thrilled that this inspirational environment will create a place where learning for their future is truly placed in the 21st Century.”

The creation of this new facility is part of the university’s £170 million regeneration masterplan which is contributing to achieving the university’s aim to create a first class research, learning and teaching campus, ensuring staff and students can operate in an exciting and supportive environment. 

Posted on Wednesday 19th October 2011

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