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Industrialist and philanthropist David Wilson speaks of delight at donating £500,000 to University of Leicester research centre at Glenfield Hospital

Posted by pt91 at Jun 21, 2012 05:04 PM |
David Wilson is Premier Local Benefactor of New Cardiovascular Research Centre
Industrialist and philanthropist David Wilson speaks of delight at donating £500,000 to University of Leicester research centre at Glenfield Hospital

L-R: Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Mrs Laura Wilson, Dr David Wilson, Professor Nilesh Samani.

Images of David Wilson at the site of the new research centre available from

Industrialist and philanthropist, David Wilson CBE DL who, through his charitable foundation The David Wilson Foundation, is the leading local donor for the University of Leicester’s research centre at Glenfield Hospital, has spoken of his delight in donating £500,000 to the project.

An Honorary Graduate of the University, Mr Wilson’s donation completed the £1m public phase of the appeal to help equip the state-of-the-art £12.6 million Cardiovascular Research Centre.

Announcing his donation David Wilson said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to support the new Cardiovascular Research Centre which will make a real difference to the research into and treatment of heart disease.  The Centre can boast a very impressive new building; but I wanted my donation to help not just the creation of the building but enable the people within it to do the wonderful work they are doing.  I’m hoping for great things from you all!”

Touring the new facility, which will be completed later this year, with his wife, Laura, Mr Wilson added: “I am already very impressed by the design, quality and materials of the new building; when completed, and following the example of the University of Leicester Library, the new Cardiovascular Research Centre will be an outstanding building of which all can be justifiably proud.

“I am making this donation in the knowledge that the new Centre will house the expertise and equipment, that together, will offer a major leap forward in research into the causes and treatment of heart disease. This is not just about the building, but all the people working and undertaking research within it.

Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer, of both old and young people alike.  I believe strongly that we need to offer as much support as possible to those researchers and medical experts who are leading the world with their research into combatting cardiovascular disease.

“The University of Leicester, and Professor Nilesh Samani and his team, have made Leicester what it is as the leading, world centre for heart research.   I congratulate the University of Leicester in making the bold decision to create the new Cardiovascular Research Centre and I’m proud to be associated with their visionary project.”

The gift from the David Wilson Foundation will be marked by the naming of the prestigious Ground Floor of the new Centre which will be known as ‘The David Wilson Biobank’.  The Biobank will be equipped with robotic equipment capable of processing and storing biological samples from up to 100,000 individuals.  This will massively increase capacity and enable the improved exploitation of clinical information on a major scale for the benefit of patients and the wider community not only in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland but also worldwide.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Sir Robert Burgess said:  “We are very grateful for the fantastic support shown by The David Wilson Foundation for the University’s new Cardiovascular Research Centre.  We are also delighted to recognise the Foundation’s generosity and David’s commitment to the project and the advancement of heart research through the naming of The David Wilson Biobank.”

The University of Leicester invested £4m to get the project off the ground in 2010 and the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust (UHLT) provided the site.  Fundraising for the construction of the research centre has so far raised over £5 million and has attracted notable support from well known organisations including The British Heart Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, and The Edith Murphy Foundation as well as generous support from many committed individuals and local community groups across Leicestershire and Rutland.

The University’s Cardiovascular Research Centre is the first four-storey building at Glenfield Hospital and adjoins the existing Clinical Sciences wing which houses the University’s medical research and teaching facilities. The 2,200m² eye catching facility will further strengthen and consolidate Leicester’s position as a leading international centre for heart research, thanks to the successful collaboration between the University of Leicester and UHL. 

The Centre will impact radically on both the scale and quality of research and treatment of cardiovascular disease all over the UK. Cardiovascular disease is the UK’s biggest killer.  It causes 1 in 3 deaths in this country and kills over 198,000 people in the UK every year.  Each day, in the East Midlands alone, 9 people die prematurely of heart disease and every 6 minutes somebody dies of a heart attack.

Professor Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, said: “The Cardiovascular Research Centre will be transformational, effectively double the amount of high quality laboratory and academic space and house a range of specialist equipment.  The Centre will be absolutely essential in realising our bold and novel research vision and will ultimately benefit the thousands of families and patients whose lives have been affected by cardiovascular disease.”

The Centre will also include a Clinical Research Informatics Unit and a Data to Knowledge Unit which together will capture, code and translate anonymous patient data for research and will accommodate an advanced IT link between the University and the Hospital. Fundraising for the Centre continues with individuals and organisations raising vital funds to provide £3million worth of specialist equipment throughout the state-of-the-art facility.


For more information on the CRC Appeal please contact Steve O’Connor at the University of Leicester on 0116 223 1071

To support the CRC Appeal and for further information, please contact:

The Development and Alumni Relations Office, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK, Tel: +44(0)116 223 1071, Website:

David Wilson, CBE DL founded The David Wilson Foundation to support young people through education.  Specifically, the Foundation helps young people overcome barriers to succeed, develop skills for work and life and achieve their potential.  David Wilson, an honorary graduate of the University of Leicester, was the premier benefactor of the award winning David Wilson Library.

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