£7,500 raised in honour of Durham student

By and Naomi Clarke

Durham University students have raised over £7,500 after a 24-hour ‘ergathon’ fundraiser and crowdfunding campaign in honour of Durham student George Somerset.

George was to enter the 3rd year of his Modern Languages and Cultures course in October 2019, when he tragically died during the summer holidays in his hometown of Kent.

We will remember him most for how he made other people feel so happy and teaching us to be positive even when life is difficult. That is his legacy.”

Lucy Heenan, George’s college wife

George Somerset was in the College of St Hild and St Bede and was well known for being greatly involved in college life, being active in Ultimate Frisbee, Hild Bede Boat Club, where he was an active rower, and also as a Freshers’ Rep for the 2018 freshers.

In memory of his passion for rowing, his friends organised the ‘ergathon’ at the College of St Hild and St Bede for Saturday 19th October. The original target was to raise £3000 to purchase a single–seater boat or a seat in HBBC’s new VIII, Lady Penelope, as a legacy to George.

The extra proceedings will be donated to the charity Mind, an organisation close to George’s heart.

His friends stated: “George had wanted to do a 24-hour ergathon to raise money for ‘Mind’, being a keen rower himself. In his honour we decided to host one ourselves at our college, one where people of all rowing abilities (and none!) could take part.”

George Somerset with his University friends

Lucy Heenan, his college wife, told Palatinate: “It was a lovely way to commemorate George, and the event was well supported by his friends and family. George loved college sport and events and always took pleasure in being surrounded by friends.”

“We will remember him most for how he made other people feel so happy and teaching us to be positive even when life is difficult. That is his legacy.”

A memorial service was held for Somerset the following day on the 20th of October at St Hild and St Bede’s College Chapel.

The Great Durham Charity Ergathon, a team relay race which collectively covers the distance of Land’s End to John O’ Groats, has also been attributed to the memory of Somerset this year.

The event states that “DARC, DU and DCR have all come together to raise money for Mind, a charity that focuses on supporting those struggling with their mental health.”

The event is to be held on November 10th, and it is open to the entire Durham Rowing community, university students and Durham residents alike.

Photography via Lucy Heenan

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