Hospitality awards given in memory of BU students who have passed away

Hospitality students at BU who have overcome adversity and made the most progress have received awards in memory of previous students who have passed away.

The parents of three former Hospitality students at Bournemouth University, who have since sadly passed away, gave the annual awards to current students in their memories on Friday.

The Mark Phillips Award has been running for the past 16 years, and is given to a student who has overcome adversity.

Mark had Type 1 diabetes, and died in February 1996, aged 22 – just three months after he graduated with a Hospitality Management degree from BU.

His parents, John and Heather Phillips, said that they enjoyed coming to the university and meeting the students who won the award.

“It is nice,” said Heather. “We use it now as a celebration.”

John added: “Mark thoroughly enjoyed himself at university. He loved every hour that he spent in Bournemouth, and we wanted to support the university.

“We decided that it would be nice to have an award each year to a student in the School of Tourism, who has overcome personal adversity. It can be anything.”

The winner of this year’s award was unable to make the awards ceremony and lunch, and so was represented by fourth year Hospitality Management student Cara McElroy, who is a hospitality ambassador for the course.

Also at the ceremony were Win and Derek Bristow.

Their son Paul graduated from the Hospitality Management degree in 1996, and was working in the SoHo area of New York.

He had organised a conference event at the World Trade Centre, and was in the North Tower when it was hit on 9/11. He was 27 when he died in the attacks.

The Paul Bristow Award is given to the student who has made the most progress specifically in the Finance subject, and this year was given to Karolina Tarnauskaite, a second year Hospitality Management student, who is from Lithuania.

The 20-year-old said: “I felt really special when I found out I was going to get the award. I like the fact that it isn’t just who has done the best, but has made the best progress over the year.”

Derek said that the award was a fitting tribute to his son.

“When Paul came here, he did what I guess a lot of students do and partied, and struggled in his first year and only just made it. But he pulled his socks in the end and he loved it down here.”

Peter and Mary Tozer have been giving an award in memory of their daughter Karen, for the past 12 years. Karen had cystic fibrosis, and passed away in 2000, aged 20, while doing her second year of a Hospitality degree.

While studying at BU, Karen was awarded the Mark Phillips Award, and her father Peter said he thought it would be nice to do something similar in her memory.

“She really enjoyed it here, even though she had to spend a third of her time in hospital and a third of her time at home. Her lecturer used to call her Little Miss Dynamite and she won the Mark Phillips Award in her first year.

“We just wanted to give something back really.”

Mary added: “It is nice to get together with the other parents and it does make a lot of difference.”

The Karen Tozer Award, which includes book tokens, is given to the group of Hospitality students who put on the best theme and experience in BU staff restaurant The Retreat, as part of their course.

Viktorija Kotova, 21, who is in her fourth year of the Hospitality Management degree, accepted the award on behalf of her group.

One of the 13 members of the group died before the task, and they decided to theme it in his memory.

“We did a menu with his name on and we put donation boxes out for people to give donations in his memory,” said Viktorija.

“We changed the menu as well, so it wasn’t just the normal menu. It is nice to win the award and it has been very nice to sit here and meet the parents.”

Crispin Farbrother, programme leader for hospitality at BU, said the awards made a difference to both the students and the parents.

“For the present students, it is a reward, a motivation and a recognition of excellence, but then it is also a way of recognising past students’ success and for the families, it allows them to continue that relationship.

“Hospitality is a community and that is key to keeping these awards going.”

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