David Wilson announced as premier local benefactor for University of Leicester Cardiovascular Research Centre
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Communities and also in Health
David Wilson, the prominent Leicestershire industrialist and philanthropist who created The David Wilson Foundation, has become the leading local donor to the University of Leicester’s new £12.6m heart research Centre at Glenfield Hospital.
An Honorary Graduate of the University, Mr Wilson has announced that The David Wilson Foundation will donate £500,000 to complete the £1m public phase of the appeal to help equip the state-of-the-art Cardiovascular Research Centre.
The public appeal, which reached the half-way mark within 10 months following donations and pledges from communities across the region, has now reached its £1 million target thanks to the tremendous donation from the Foundation.
The gift from the David Wilson Foundation will be marked by the naming of the prestigious Ground Floor of the new Centre which will be known as ‘The David Wilson Biobank’. The Biobank will be equipped with robotic equipment capable of processing and storing biological samples from up to 100,000 individuals. This will massively increase capacity and enable the improved exploitation of clinical information on a major scale for the benefit of patients and the wider community not only in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland but also worldwide.
David Wilson said: “Too many people die prematurely from heart disease with profound effects on their families and friends. The David Wilson Foundation is proud to be supporting the University’s world leading cardiovascular research that will help to improve the health and life expectation of patients and the public in our local communities and beyond”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Sir Robert Burgess said: “We are very grateful for the fantastic support shown by The David Wilson Foundation for the University’s new Cardiovascular Research Centre. We are also delighted to recognise the Foundation’s generosity and David’s commitment to the project and the advancement of heart research through the naming of The David Wilson Biobank.”
The University of Leicester invested £4m to get the project off the ground in 2010 and the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust (UHLT) provided the site. Fundraising for the construction of the research centre has attracted notable support from well known organisations including The British Heart Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, and The Edith Murphy Foundation as well as generous support from individuals and local groups.
The University’s Cardiovascular Research Centre is the first four-storey building at Glenfield Hospital and adjoins the existing Clinical Sciences wing which houses the University’s medical research and teaching facilities. The 2,200m² eye catching facility will further strengthen and consolidate Leicester’s position as a leading international centre for heart research, thanks to the successful collaboration between the University of Leicester and UHLT.
The Centre will impact radically on both the scale and quality of research and treatment of cardiovascular disease all over the UK. Cardiovascular disease is the UK’s biggest killer. It causes 1 in 3 deaths in this country and kills over 198,000 people in the UK every year. Each day, in the East Midlands alone, 9 people die prematurely of heart disease and every 6 minutes somebody dies of a heart attack.
Professor Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, said: “The Cardiovascular Research Centre will be transformational, effectively double the amount of high quality laboratory and academic space and house a range of specialist equipment. The Centre will be absolutely essential in realising our bold and novel research vision and will ultimately benefit the thousands of families and patients whose lives have been affected by cardiovascular disease.”
The Centre will also include a Clinical Research Informatics Unit and a Data to Knowledge Unit which together will capture, code and translate anonymous patient data for research and will accommodate an advanced IT link between the University and the Hospital.
David Wilson will visit the site of the new Cardiovascular Research Centre, later this month, to announce his donation and see progress of The Biobank that will bear his name.