Each year since 2016, the Aidan Ridley Award for Endeavour has recognised and celebrated the achievements of a Bournemouth University student who has overcome personal challenges and/or shown a high level of team working and support for others during their studies.
Aidan Ridley graduated from Bournemouth University in 2015 with a BSc (Hons) Sports Development and Coaching Sciences degree. Joanna and David Ridley, Aidan’s parents, said: "Aidan spent four wonderful years at Bournemouth University and completed his placement at Kelston Boys School in Auckland, New Zealand. These were the happiest and most productive years for Aidan and the experiences he had helped to develop him into the man he was”.
In February of 2016, Aidan was killed in a road accident as he was leaving work. With the support of students and staff of Bournemouth University, Aidan’s parents have been able to set up several initiatives in Aidan’s name, including the Aidan Ridley Award for Endeavour, to recognise the influence and value of his time at university and his placement.
On behalf of the Business School and Aidan’s parents, Liam McGarry was named the prize winner of the Aidan Ridley Award for Endeavour for 2020. Liam studied BSc (Hons) Sport Psychology and Coaching Sciences at BU and towards the end of his first year at university he suffered a spinal injury which left him paralysed from T12 down.
Liam found para-powerlifting through the Spinal Games and since then, has overcome adversity and excelled in his sport, winning several British championships. Currently, Liam is preparing to represent GB and cement his name in the top 8 in the world in the 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup.
Liam commented on winning the award “I'm so happy that Bournemouth University and Aidan's parents deemed me worthy of winning such an award. It is an honour to accept this award in Aidan’s memory and to really cap off 4 wonderful years at Bournemouth University.”
Liam added: “Even though it was the most challenging 4 years, full of various types of adversity, it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding journeys of my life. With the help of some wonderful people who I will be eternally grateful for, I was able to overcome some of the biggest challenges I have ever faced and am still facing. This award really is the icing on the cake, and I am very proud to have received it.”
Liam’s Programme Leader for Sport Psychology and Coaching Sciences Emma Kavanagh said: “Liam’s nomination was supported across the department for his ability to navigate the programme even in light of significant personal challenge. I was fortunate to teach Liam in a number of core units and be a part of his journey at Bournemouth University – always great person to have in a lecture environment or workshop. We cannot wait to watch what the next chapter has in store for Liam, we know he will do great things and are proud to have him as part of our alumni."
Adi Adams, Programme Leader for Sport Coaching at BU, added: “Myself and all of the sport academic staff warmly congratulate Liam on receiving the Aiden Ridley Award for Endeavour. Liam is thoroughly deserving of the award and his nomination was wholeheartedly supported by the academic team who have got to know him and work with him across his 4 years with us. We are incredibly proud of Liam, and we look forward to following his story beyond BU.”