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I’m from Neath and went to a school that had a long tradition for excellence in music and sporting activities. I knew several pupils who had studied music at Cardiff University, where there was a combination of academia and practical music making that was second to none. It was that balance that attracted me to come to Cardiff, and I began my studies in autumn 1978 and graduated in the summer of 1981 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

During my time at Cardiff University, I enjoyed meeting so many people from different parts of the UK, and from different backgrounds. It was here that I started conducting, firstly in the student Music Society concerts and later, encouraged by Clifford Bunford – the conductor of the University Choir and Orchestra – to assist him in the preparation of concerts. It was all great experience for me, and I look back at my time as a student with huge affection.

In my student days we could apply for grants, based on our parents’ income. These grants didn’t have to be paid back, so we didn’t have the level of debt that students incur today. I wanted to give something back to young people who are going on the same life-changing experience as me at Cardiff University, all these years later! I’m leaving a legacy to help financially disadvantaged students at the School of Music, and in the name of my beloved Great Aunt Winifred.

I hope my legacy goes some small way to be of help. Once I had made my initial contact it was very easy, and I felt supported throughout the process by the wonderful Sarah Morgan- Davies. If you are able to do so, please consider leaving a gift in your Will to Cardiff University, as the help it will provide to future students is immeasurable.

Watch: change a life, leave a legacy

Michael Bell MBE (BM 1981)

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