Newsletter April 2018

Update from Chairman Mick Burrows

I thought it might be useful to update you on what’s been happening over the past five months or so across the scholarship.

Firstly, I would like to thank those of you who have given so generously. Contributions and support have arrived in many different and varied forms. I include, very kind individuals who have contributed financial support, also those past scholars who have given very valued advice, suggestions and personal offers to support. I would also like to thank all the scholars who have so brilliantly represented the scholarship in the media, on the radio, at a wide range of business and other local clubs. You have really given meaning and purpose to the aims and benefits of the scholarship in a very positive and professional manner.

I also want to thank my fellow Trustees who help govern and guide the scholarship. I value the time and dedication given by Sheridan, Ed, Gab, and Gareth who all run very dynamic businesses and the support and enthusiasm from Keith with the US perspective. It’s really valuable having the support of the Chairman of the County Council, I know Cllr John Handley is very busy but gives his time very generously to us. We also value the presence of the Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Edwards. I also thank Cllr Yvonne Woodhead who is now a Trustee and very generously dedicated her local fund to the scholarship and Cllr Merlita Bryan for her support on local radio.

Most importantly, the Scholarship continues to develop and deliver thanks to Russ and the small but incredibly effective management team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything happens.

We still face a significant financial challenge. We continue to remain unsustainable due to very challenging financial climate. We have however had some very generous individual contributions which will enable support for two scholars this year.  Our financial proposals move us away from public sector support to individual and corporate support. We have met with a number of bodies and organisations so far without fruition. We are now preparing a more dynamic and collective approach to revisit large Corporate businesses.

We continue to pursue positive relationships with local organisations and bodies. Many of these are based on individual approaches and networks including Business Clubs, Universities, The Bromley Library etc.

Last year’s scholars have further reinforced the tremendous benefit and value the Scholarship provides. Building on this experience we have slightly altered the selection process adding greater challenge and seeking stronger returns from the successful applicants. This year has witnessed another very strong field of potential scholars, final interviews take place later this month.

Finally, our AGM is re-scheduled for May. Trustees will be asking what else we need to do to ensure the continuation of the scholarship. We all believe our relationship with the US is increasingly important in light of all the dynamics we currently face as a nation. We also believe that we should be aiming to support five scholars a year in return for the overall effort applied.  This requires a sustainable income stream of around £10k per annum.

Be assured we as Trustees will do whatever we can to secure whatever finances can be levered. However, to best present our case to local companies we would value any testimonials you as past scholars may be able to provide, in particular any testimonials that highlight the benefit to a business for supporting a scholar. I look forward to your feedback, as ever we readily welcome any other ideas or suggestions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to contact Russ directly, email or phone 07767 -797335 with your ideas.

Best wishes







In April 2017, I was awarded the Nottinghamshire Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship. I remember the phone call and I was in disbelief! As the excitement settled down the task ahead became even more apparent, I thought of all the organisations and places I wanted to visit. My eleven weeks in the States (and a hop over the border to Canada) took me across eleven State lines, and into the homes of many kind people.

I arrived in the USA at LAX, Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day (23rd November). I visited nearly 30 cities and  managed to jam pack my schedule with meetings, visiting researchers, learning from NGO’s and businesses as well as going into schools with local bat species. My aims were to understand more on species recovery programs and youth engagement with wildlife.

I met with researchers and curators from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum; San Diego NHM and the New York NHM where I learnt more about school programs, their delivery and citizen science. Although I never made it to Yellowstone NP, I did get to meet with top researchers at Yale who have been studying the wolf re introductions there for years to learn more about the species themselves and their interaction with the ecosystem. I also got to go to the Wolf Conservation Centre in upstate New York, who participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) and Recovery Plan for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican grey wolf and the red wolf. The WCC also has an education program of both onsite and offsite visits through which they engage with schools about wolf biology, the ecological benefits of wolves and other large predators.

Each State is so different with its policies and funds that it is more like the countries of the EU. Species legislation varies as do protection measures and the same if true of the school educational curriculum. It was interesting to see the cultural differences between States and even language use. This creates different challenges for organisations across the USA. In Michigan I helped in delivery of school education programs with Organization for Bat Conservation. This was to kids from the age of six up to sixteen. One of the schools was a strict Christian school and so it was interesting delivering a program on bats there as we were not to speak much about evolution or better yet at all.

I only truly have understood the vastness of the country now I have travelled from West to East Coast. The landscapes are also fantastic, on the day I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona we managed to travel through five ecosystems in a day. I was not expecting to see forest in Arizona! It wasn’t just about wildlife though; the art museums and street art were exceptional in places and the food and music too. Texas really surprised me for its great food, lively atmosphere, street art and of course huge bat populations in several areas. I’d love to go back and see the bat bridge in Austin at its peak in summer. It was my first ever Christmas away from my family, I spent the day birdwatching and at the beach. I also managed to stay with three past Scholars as well as a Roosevelt family member. Dr Anna Roosevelt, from the Theodore lineage, and professor in Anthropology at the University of Illinois.

Overall the Scholarship helped me develop so many skills as well as making a more courageous person. I made so many new friends and connections over there I can’t wait to collaborate and see what the future holds. I have already hosted back one of my hosts from America, Christy who I stayed with Austin.



Miles Waghorn – “A reunion of business and pleasure”

As we approach 8 months since I returned from the US, there have been many advances, but there is one that sticks out as being the most influential. In some ways it’s flown by, but in others it’s been jam-packed with progress and feels like a long time ago indeed.

Whilst researching who to meet with on my trip, I recalled a LinkedIn Message from a US-based tech company which specialises in helping seniors benefit from technology. I quickly got back in touch and was passed on to the founder of the company. Like many people I reached out to, he was interested in my research subject and intrigued in why I was coming to the States, but understandably I was not at the top of his agenda.

After struggling to be in the same city at the same time, I eventually secured a Skype meeting with him. They were at their Silicon Valley HQ whilst I was in the dreary lobby of a Houston hotel. From the second we started talking, we both seemed to question why we had not spoken sooner. There was a clear alignment of passions to help older people live a better life and reconnect them to loved ones and the world around us.

After months of discussion about how we could work together, in October of last year we met in (a much nicer) hotel lobby, this time in London. We got to hold their fantastic product for the first time and begin to piece together how our commercial relationship may take place, as well as discuss the hilarious cultural differences between the USA and UK (he ordered a single malt scotch whiskey, which ended up being a single measure of Bells!) Fast-forward to April 2018 and I’ve just got back from meeting up with them in Manchester. It’s so incredible to have someone fly halfway across the world from what was born out of a chance LinkedIn message.

As we’re getting towards the final stage of securing our relationship, this could go down in Roosevelt scholarship history. Not only as a fantastic transatlantic partnership, but a way that thousands of older people across the UK will benefit from technology brought over from the USA, as a direct result of my trip.

Unfortunately like most business deals, I cannot say any more about the product or company until ‘the ink is dry’, but even if it doesn’t come through, the connections I’ve made will be life-changing for me and other Nottinghamshire seniors, as well as helping my company TechSilver employ and grow in the local area.



Gareth Morgan

In October and November last year, I travelled from New York to San Francisco as one of the 2017 Nottingham Roosevelt scholars. My aim was to work with literary and literacy organisations across the US who support the learning of children in elementary grades (7-11, equivalent of primary phase/KS2). In my two months in the States, I volunteered with 27 literacy organisations, 1 university and one Presidential library (no prizes for guessing which one). This included visiting the grave of DH Lawrence in Taos, New Mexico, and Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, our sister city in the Creative Cities Network. I took the perhaps unorthodox approach, in an attempt to keep my carbon footprint for the trip low, to not take any internal flights on the trip too – clocking up over 7000 miles on Greyhound buses, Amtrak, Ubers and blagged/incredibly generous lifts. I also handed out an inordinate amount of Robin Hood hats to hosts, friends and organisations I worked with.

My route was plotted around the 826 Network of literacy programmes/esoteric shops – their pirate/super hero/time travel stores helping fund their education projects! As such I visited 826 NYC & The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store, 826 DC & Tivoli’s Astounding Magical Supply Store, 826 Chicago & the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Store, 826 LA & the Echo Park and Mar Vista Time Travel Marts and 826 Valencia (San Francisco) and the Pirate Supply Store // the Tenderloin Centre and King Carl’s Emporium. This/these organisations were instrumental in the development of my thinking around what could be the Nottingham equivalent and I am in the process of writing a strategic development plan and setting out what our USP would be – did someone say Robin Hood store….?

826 was not the only organisation that I engaged with and from taking specially trained “reading dogs” into elementary schools in South Chicago to devising and reading stories with children in West Dallas, I discovered more and more about the differences, the similarities, the things we can learn and the things I’m eternally grateful for existing in the country that will

It wasn’t all work: I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Kelly from university in Modesto, CA, and Halloween with my cousin Tina in Alton, IL. I spent a sunny few days with the wonderfully affable 1977 scholar Ansar Haroun and his family in San Diego and paid visits to FDR and Mrs Roosevelt memorials in New York, Hyde Park and Washington – digging through the Roosevelt Archives too, finding many hidden gems from the scholarship’s history and many telegrams from Mrs Roosevelt to our scholarship secretary. I also visited Arlington Cemetery to visit the memorial to 503 US Airborne who were stationed at Wollaton Hall ahead to the Allied invasion of occupied France in 1944.

America is held up as a “land of opportunity”. For me, this opportunity was to eat burritos or ribs for every meal I could afford, and WalMart for everything else. I am sadly still unable to find diet root beer or Mountain Dew or Corn Nuts very easily in the UK – bad for my taste buds, but probably good for my cholesterol.

Since landing back in the UK in December, I’ve managed to pick up some work off the back of the scholarship (I’m a freelancer so the trip was one of uncertainty on my return with no guaranteed job to slot back into) which is allowing me to use elements of the pedagogy and engagement ideas with 53 primary schools in Nottingham that are taking part in the project I’m managing. Plus, I’ve been meeting with teacher networks, libraries, national charities and Nottingham City Council about implementing some of the expertise, not least the children’s learning continuum that I discovered working with Read On Arizona in Phoenix. This could hugely expand the scope of the city’s engagement with children’s reading development, expanding the age range worked with from 0-5 to 0-8. I’ve also been invited to the International Dolly Parton Imagination Library Conference 2018 by their International Director Angie who I met in Pigeon Forge, TN.  I also hope to visit places I could make work in the timing of my trip: Boston and their 826 centre and Big Foot Research Institute there, Seattle, now a UNESCO City of Literature, and returning to San Francisco for the 826 development seminar to support the launching of what could become an 826-inspired space in Nottingham.




Update on 2018 Application Process by Russ Blenkinsop

The eight short-listed applicants for 2018 were all very strong candidates and serious contenders for the Scholarship. They included a barrister, recording artist/teacher, fundraiser, self-employed artists and youth workers.

Four have been selected to go through to the final interview with the Trustees on Thursday April 26th. One of the applicants also reached this final stage last year. All are aware that we are only offering 6-week scholarships (with a £1500 stipend, up to £200 for insurance and a round trip air fare to New York). All four have said they would accept the shorter scholarship and would look to fund raise to extend the trip to three months.

The interview panel consisted of Rachel Armitage, Miles Waghorn, Gareth Morgan, Liz Blenkinsop and Russ Blenkinsop. Three of the panel are self-employed and spent a very long day listening to the most interesting people and their projects and then painstakingly deciding who should go through and what appropriate words to say to those who were unsuccessful.  Thank you all.

The time slots and questions were improved from last year and application process continues to evolve to ensure successful candidates will represent the Scholarship, their employer and Nottinghamshire to the highest standard.


BBC Radio Nottingham’s Mayflower 2020 Quilt

A quilt showcasing 400 years of Nottinghamshire’s history was donated as a special gift to the United States. It was created by the Nottinghamshire branch of the Quilters’ Guild, highlighting the origins of the Pilgrim Fathers. BBC Radio Nottingham has been campaigning to honour the likes of William Brewster, from Scrooby, who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.

Although the Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship did not feature on the quilt, it highlights the diverse history and associations between the USA and Nottingham.



Mayflower 2020 Campaign

The Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship is working to develop a partnership with the Mayflower 2020 campaign. The campaign marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts. This is a unique opportunity to commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the journey and to highlight their stories and heritage, which is embedded in communities across the UK, US and Netherlands.

The Mayflower 400 programme has been created to leverage this opportunity, aligning 11 core destinations in England with wider local, national and international partners and over 10 million US citizens who descended from the Mayflower passengers. It will deliver a world-class series of events, public art and wider content that will commemorate this exceptional voyage and provide a major ongoing impact across the partnership, knitting together communities, inspiring creativity and culture, driving economic growth, and promoting understanding and education.

Mayflower 400 will champion the values of freedom, faith and personal liberty that informed the original journey, and which continue to be articulated in the special relationship between the UK, US and Netherlands. At the same time, the commemoration will recognise the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of colonialism and migration, providing an accurate, inclusive account of the Mayflower’s legacy.

Scrooby & Babworth, Nottinghamshire

The leading religious Separatists who voyaged to America in 1620 were originally from the Bassetlaw area of Nottinghamshire, where their beliefs were shaped. Regarded as dangerous religious renegades who rejected fundamental principles of the State and the established Church of England, they worshipped in secret to avoid arrest and persecution.

Among them was William Brewster who was brought up in Scrooby. Inspired by the radical words of Richard Clifton, the rector of nearby All Saints’ Church, Babworth, Brewster is believed to have founded a Separatist Church in his family home – the (privately owned) manor house at Scrooby. He was fined for non-attendance at St. Wilfrid’s Church in Scrooby but was respected as an elder and spiritual guide, and played a significant role in the congregation’s later journeys. (Text Source:

Americans in Nottingham…

Prince Harry and Megan Merkle visit Nottingham

On their first official joint royal engagement in the UK, Prince Harry, who has visited Nottingham eight times in the last five years, was keen to introduce his American fiancee to a community ‘that has become very special to him’, his spokesman said.

The couple were visiting the Nottingham Contemporary, which is hosting a Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day charity fair, to meet head-teachers from local schools and those working for Full Effect, a programme aimed at combating youth crime set up by the Royal Foundation, of which Markle will become a patron.

Professor Peter Romary takes Oath of Office as judge at the Nottingham Law School

The 7th March 2018 marked a historic legal ritual, thought not to have taken place in the UK since the 1700s.

It was to install Professor Peter Romary (pictured right) as a pro-tem judge in North Carolina. He was visiting Nottingham Trent University with students and asked if he could take his Oath of Office in the East Midlands so his UK-based parents could attend.  Nottingham has hosted a solemn ceremony that has not been held in Britain since the 1700s.

Lawyer and academic Professor Peter Romary was sworn in as a North Carolina judge – the first time an American judge has taken his oath on this side of the Atlantic since the 18th century, when his home state was one of Britain’s colonies. The ceremony took place at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, as it welcomed the first US students on to its LLM (Master of Laws) Legal Practice distance learning course.

He has been appointed to serve as a “pro-tempore” judge, and will sit in North Carolina when the state judiciary has a heavy workload of civil claims for or against the state. He received special permission to have the swearing-in held in Nottingham as part of the visit, enabling his British parents to attend.

Students and staff watched as American judge Jeff Foster presided and Prof Romary, 47, took the oath. The bible was held by his mother Joy. Looking on was the professor’s father John, a retired solicitor and district judge.

Prof Romary lives in North Carolina with his wife Marcy. Their daughter Elizabeth is working in Namibia with the American volunteer agency The Peace Corps. He is best known for his pro-bono work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and other violent crime. As a young lawyer he secured from a jury what was then a world record wrongful death verdict of $525 million.

He lectures internationally and hailed the Campbell and Nottingham law school link on a course he said would help the cause of lawyers being able to practice in more than one country.





The Scholarship goes on providing opportunities for local young people to make their own journey to transform their career, aspirations and self-confidence – on an unbroken path now trodden by over 150 scholars over 68 years.  In each newsletter we will bring you a story, pictures or memories from passed scholars.

ALUMNI – J R Adams (1949)

In 1953 Ray wrote:

Whenever my acquaintances learn that I have spent some time in the USA I can expect a barrage of questions. This interest in the USA shown by the majority of British people in sponsored by many emotions: curiosity, admiration, antagonism, etc. During the inevitable discussion which follows it remarkable how many views are expressed which, in my experience, are incorrect. Naturally, in the circumstances, I try to tell them what I consider is the truth. If I can succeed then it is just one more way in which the Roosevelt Scholarships are helping to create understanding and friendship between America and Great Britain. Of course, lectures, articles and discussions are all important ways of helping to create this international goodwill.

To an insular people like ourselves it is most desirable that as many people as possible visit other nations. The Scholarships provide a first class opportunity to visit one of the most interesting countries in the world. A Scholarship holder becomes an ambassador of Great Britain and in particular Nottinghamshire in America and of the USA on returning home. The interchange of views, experiences and ideas is essential to maintain and increase the important friendship of the two nations.

Nottinghamshire’s unique contribution of Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarships are, in my experience, acclaimed by all Americans who hear of the scheme. They consider the Scholarships a generous gesture of a far-sighted community and one which would bring tangible rewards to individuals and organisations, in addition to helping increased friendship between the two countries.

It is now four years since my own four months stay in the USA and though it is difficult to assess even the more tangible benefits I feel confident that my experiences there have contributed much to my work. To these benefits may be added others such as broadening of the mind to appreciate other points of view, an increased sense of responsibility to the local community and the opportunities of making Nottingham, the County and its products more widely known in the States. Surely a worthy object these days when exports to North America are very desirable.

When chosen as a Scholar, JR Adams worked for Ericsson Telephones. He presented an illuminated Address to General Eisenhower in commemoration of his visit to Nottingham. A Photostat of the completed address may be seen at the Council House.




ALUMNI: John Blackwell 1963 Scholar – A Roosevelts Scholars account of the JFK assassination

Reading the latest newsletter revives many memories for me, and the feelings expressed by the two latest scholars on their return, are so similar to my own 54 years ago.

It was remarked that I was a different person on my return, more confident and certainly very prepared to meet and listen to advice from people around me.

As I write this letter, the day after Mr Trump is appointed President of the USA, brings back the memory of the assassination of JFK in Dallas. I was staying on a tobacco farm in Virginia and as I was waiting for a bus into the local town at the end of the driveway to the house, which looked like something out of “Gone with the Wind”, the black servant Arthur came running down the drive shouting” Master John they have shot the president”. The whole atmosphere changed over next few days, I was able to visit Arlington cemetery to view JFKs grave a few days later. I have many wonderful memories of my 4 months in the USA, but this event will always be the one remembered. L was very fortunate , as I made my way around the USA looking at industrial product design for obsolescence. Just like today’s scholars, l was given the warmest of welcomes by American families. From my arrival in New York on the Queen Mary along with my two fellow scholars Peter (from Boots) and Jane (a teacher) to the day of my departure four months later I spent many pleasant hours with American families.

Starting my journey by staying with a family in New Jersey whilst visiting Bell Telephones a must as l worked for Ericsson Telephones Ltd in Beeston. My journey took me to Philadelphia to visit the Jacquard Co. and then returning to New York to start my journey by Greyhound bus (note the cost 99 dollars for 99 days). I travelled via Boston, Rochester, Niagara, (into Canada to visit Ericson’s factory in Toronto) then on to Detroit, Chicago, Kansas, Oklahoma, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles (a few days break in Las Vegas & Mexico City) before arriving back in Dallas just one week before JFKs assassination. Then on through the southern states, to New Orleans, then to Virginia and the tobacco farm, onto Washington DC the day after JFKs funeral, finally back to New York and my flight home to my wife and young daughter.

Not only did I get a lot of information and experiences of industrial design from major industry and colleges of Art & Design, but a tremendous amount of what life is all about from the wonderful people I met on my travels.

The Roosevelt Scholarship is something I have been proud to have been part of all my life – now being 80 in a few months it is wonderful to relive my memories whilst reading those of todays scholars. May the Scholarships go on for many more years.

Best wishes to all future Scholars

John Blackwell 1963 Scholar




ALUMNI – Keith Taylor 1959  – What the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship has meant to me

The Post Office Telegram dated 15 April 1959 said:


I could not believe my good fortune in being one of three scholars chosen to visit America for four months in the Autumn of that year. The scholarship was established to promote goodwill and understanding between the citizens of Nottingham and the people of the USA. I was 27. Nearly 60 years later I look back with profound gratitude to the Trustees and my employer at that time, Raleigh Industries, for what was a landmark event in my life and one which I will never forget.

Undoubtedly, the greatest privilege and pleasure of the scholarship was staying as a private guest with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt at her home, Val-kill Cottage, Hyde Park both on arrival and before departure. She was intently interested in our plans and our experiences. She was undoubted one of the greatest women of our time and lived by her philosophy: ‘the most important thing in any relationship is not what you can get but what you can give.’

The sheer size of America, 3000 miles coast to coast, and its immense physical and ethnic diversity create a sense of constant wonderment. As a blueprint for my travels, I had used the American bicycle manufacturing industry and this brought me into contact with numerous people, families, entrepreneurs, professionals and even the military. However, there were numerous unplanned and unexpected occasions as diverse as sitting next to Admiral Rickover of Polaris submarine fame at a US Naval Officer’s dining in night; meeting Richard Burton during a break in filming in Hollywood; descending the Grand Canyon by mule and numerous others. Overriding all was the welcoming friendliness and generosity of everyone I met.

With hindsight, I can say that this remarkable scholarship provided a foundation on which to build my life but with a new perspective of the unlimited potential to learn from and listen to the diverse people who inhabit this wonderful world.





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