University scholarship set up in memory of former miner

Prof Stuart Corbridge and Claire Pringle. Picture: Andrew Heptinstall photography
Prof Stuart Corbridge and Claire Pringle. Picture: Andrew Heptinstall photography

A new scholarship has been set up to help boost university education in memory of a former miner.

Durham University has received a generous gift to set up a scholarship fund for prospective students as the Brian Cooper Scholarship Fund has been set up to provide an annual scholarship to a local student in need of financial assistance.

Brian Cooper

Brian Cooper

Donors Claire Pringle and her husband Tony have worked closely with the university to set up the scholarships in memory of Brian Cooper – father of Claire and her brother Noel.

The scholarships may contribute to living costs, tuition fees or other associated costs of study.

Claire’s dad, Brian Cooper, was born in Horden in 1938 to a family of coal miners. After leaving school at 15, he started working at Horden colliery, fixing mining machinery and went to night school to gain qualifications in mining engineering.

Brian worked his way up in his career and became a human resources manager at Northumbrian Water Authority.

He then went on to establish the North East office for Coutts Career Consultants where he was instrumental in setting up the sponsorship of an MBA at Durham University. He left Coutts after ten years and worked as a human resources consultant before retiring eighteen years ago.

Claire said: “Whilst my Dad never patted himself on the back for his achievements, my brother and I are extremely proud of him. He never had the opportunity to go to university but encouraged my brother and I to do so, which we did, with his full support.

“Because of my Dad’s background, I am eager to support young people from the local area who, because of financial restraints, would probably not consider university as an option, let alone a university as prestigious as Durham.”

Vice-Chancellor and Warden at Durham University, Professor Stuart Corbridge, said: “The scholarship perfectly complements the existing work that the university is undertaking to attract talented students from the region to study at Durham.

“They could not be more welcome here, at the University which lies in the heart of their county.

“We look forward to receiving enquiries from local prospective students about the Scholarship and about studying at Durham University.”

Information about the scholarships is on the university’s website at