Welcome – and please read on

This blog has been set up by Harry’s family to help create a lasting legacy to ‘pay forward’ all the love that has been shared with them since his sudden death at the age of 21 from a cardiac arrest triggered by Septic Shock (an acute form of Sepsis) on 20 February 2019.

The Harry Lownds Memorial Fund offers scholarship support in the form of a top-up maintenance grant to a graduate student at the University of Sussex whose personal circumstances might otherwise prevent them pursuing their studies for the Master of Science degree in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology.  So far over £40,000 has been raised allowing five students to receive scholarship to support their studies at Sussex.

Studying Genetics was Harry’s dream and he had planned to start this course in September 2019 following completion of his BSc in Genetics at Sussex.  Harry had a lifelong love of science which he expressed eloquently in his Personal Statement when he applied for a place at University (you can read it here “Harry’s Personal Statement“)

Donations to the fund can be made via the University of Sussex Alumni website or that of the American Friends of the University of Sussex, allowing UK taxpayers to claim Gift Aid and US taxpayers to deduct relevant taxes.  Links to both sites are below.  

If you are in the UK please donate here: University of Sussex

If you are in the US please donate here: Friends of University of Sussex   On the Friends website, please use the ‘special purpose’ box to specify that you would like your donation to be earmarked to the Harry Lownds Memorial Fund.

Please also feel free to use the ‘comments’ box on either site to pass on other messages, however Harry’s family can also be contacted directly by emailing: familylownds@gmail.com

Peak District UltraChallenge 2024 – opening a new fundraising drive

Harry’s Dad, Matt, spent the weekend of 6-7 July out on the hills around Bakewell, not far from where he grew up. He was far from alone – almost 3,000 people started the Peak District Ultra Challenge, covering distances ranging from 10km to 100km, the vast majority doing so to raise funds for charity. The organisers claimed over £800,000 had been raised before the starting hooter went and forecast that the event would generate well over £1 million in all for a wide range of good causes. Some people really did it the hard way, like Daniel Fairbrother from Stevenage who carried a fridge the full 100km without a break to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Others Matt chatted to along the way were raising funds for some well-known charities like the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, and some much less well-known ones supporting local hospices or ‘rare disease’ charities (including Vasculitis UK, who the family raised funds for after Harry’s Grandma Lownds’ death in 2016 from microscopic polyangiitis).

Matt was one of the 420 finishers in the ‘100km continuous challenge’ – walking through the night to complete it in a little over 23 hours, half an hour faster than last year.  Although the weather was relatively kind to participants (while London and the South East saw a month’s rainfall inside two days), nearly a quarter of those starting dropped out along the at-times-gruelling route.  Matt’s aim was to kick-start a planned year-long family fundraising effort to collect £20,000 to continue the scholarship established at Sussex University in memory of Harry.  Our goal now is to build on the fundraising after Harry’s death to ensure that the scholarship can continue for at least another five years – celebrating Harry’s life by ‘paying forward’ the love and support that friends and family have offered us since his death.

Thank you for reading – and for your support to Harry’s scholarship.

(Harry’s Mum, Becky, presenting Matt with
his finisher’s medal at 06:10 on Sunday morning)

Winter Graduation 2024

Harry’s Dad Matt travelled down to Brighton on Thursday 25 Januuary to help celbrate the graduation of the 2022/23 recipient of the scholarship, Tiffany Clements.  A thoroughly fun afternoon was had by all.  You can see the graduation ceremony online at https://vimeo.com/906672389, with Tiffany’s moment in the spotlight coming at 21:42 in.

News from the Harry Lownds Scholars

The Lownds family was very pleased to receive letters from the 2022/23 scholar, Tiffany Clements, providing an update at the end of her studies for the MSc in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Sussex, and from the recipient of the scholarship for 2023/24, Hannah Baker, introducing herself.  You can read their letters here and here and get a sense of the difference the scholarship is making to the lives of these inspiring young people.

World Sepsis Day/Sepsis Awareness Month

The Lownds family were very pleased to see their last family photo with Harry – taken on the Ridgeway on New Year’s Day 2019 – feature in a photomontage in Sepsis Research FEAT’s video marking World Sepsis Day 2023.  A few days earlier they had received news that their ‘Walk for Harry 2023 Challenges’ had raised £1300 for the charity, with a further £240 donated in Gift Aid. The charity and the Lownds family are hugely grateful to the many friends and family members that helped them raise this sum.

Peak District UltraChallenge 2023

In the final leg of their ‘Walk for Harry 2023 Challenges’ Becky and Matt took part in the 100km Peak District UltraChallenge. The route starts and finishes in Bakewell taking in Chatsworth park and the spectacular scenery of the White Peak along the way.  Becky completed the first 25km to Tideswell while Matt carried on back to Bakewell and then on through the night.  The second half took him along Lathkill Dale, up on to the High Peak Trail, past his home village of Bonsall and back down into the Derwent valley.  Becky and his sister Ruth met Matt as he looped around Haddon Hall to arrive at the finish at 06:38 – twenty minutes inside his goal of finishing the route within 24 hours.

Harry’s birthday walk

Matt marked what would have been Harry’s 26th birthday by walking 26 miles along the Ridgeway.  This was leg three of the Lownds family’s ‘Walk for Harry 2023 Challenges’ and formed the final part of his training for July’s Peak District UltraChallenge.

Going the #GlobalMile extra

Matt joined fellow members of the British Diplomatic Service around the world taking part in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s annual ‘GlobalMile’ charity fundraiser.  In the second leg of the Lownds family’s ‘Walk for Harry 2023 Challenges’ he completed a 20 mile loop route along the Ridgeway – pictured at the half-way point at the Lord Wantage monument near Lockinge.

Isle of Wight UltraChallenge

On 29-30 April Becky, Matt and Harry’s Uncle Neil Allen took part in the Isle of Wight UltraChallenge as part of our 2023 ‘Walk for Harry’ set of challenges.  Neil walked through the night to complete the full 106 km continuous challenge. Becky finished at the half way point (53km) at the Isle of Wight Showground while Matthew continued on with Neil to keep him company as far as Seaview – 73km. Some before, during and after photographs below.

Meet the 2022/23 Scholar

Harry’s Dad Matt took advantage of an invitation to attend the annual meeting of the University of Sussex’s Helena Normanton Society to meet up with the 2022/23 recipient of the scholarship, Tiffany Clements.

The Helena Normanton Society was established in 2015 to thank alumni and friends of the University who have made provision for Sussex in their will, and those who have expressed an interest in doing so.  It takes its name from lawyer and women’s rights activist Helena Normanton who was the first woman to be admitted to an Inn of Court – the Middle Temple – and the first woman to be briefed in the High Court and Old Bailey. She was the first woman to conduct a trial in America, one of the two first female King’s Counsel and the first married British woman to be issued a passport in her maiden name. She was also the first person to leave a legacy donation in her will to Sussex University in 1957, becoming a founding funder.