IT WAS Nepalese children who left the biggest impression on Bradford student Georgie Paul after a school trip to the South Asian country.

“Interacting with the children was the best part of the trip for me,” says the teenager. “They were so lovely. I also loved the fantastic view from the top of Poon Hill mountain.”

A former pupil at Mary Hare School for deaf children in Newbury, Berkshire, Georgie, whose family home is in Bradford, was given the opportunity to visit Nepal by her head of year.

The school partnered with VoluntEars, an organisation that arranges trips to developing countries for deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing people. Its most popular trips combine practical hands-on renovation work at one of the organisation’s partner deaf schools, fun activities with local deaf students and visits to local places during free time. Its groups are a mix of deaf, hearing and the hard-of-hearing.

“The first week we went to Kathmandu, renovating a’ dormitory in a deaf school, then we trekked in the Himalayas, then travelled to Pokhara, where we worked with deaf children and adults,” she says.

Georgie was able to go on the exciting trip thanks to help from a trust fund set up in the name a dedicated teacher of deaf children who tragically lost his life along with his two sons Felix, 13, and Rupert, 11, in the fire at Bradford City football ground in May 1985.

The Peter Greenwood Memorial Trust offers cash grants to deaf and hearing-impaired students who meet certain criteria.

Peter was the Deputy Head at Thorn Park School for Deaf Children in Bradford. He worked enthusiastically to improve educational opportunities for Deaf people, particularly in post 16 education.

As well as helping with the cost of school trips, the bursaries go towards items including laptops, books, software and kit such as sportswear and other items needed by students for vocational courses. The trust - a registered charity - generally helps around ten to 15 students per year, distributing between £1,000 and £2,000 per year - with the exception of 2018, when a record £8,700 was awarded.

“We have given out about £50,000 and helped around 300 young people since the trust began,” says its secretary Malcolm Robinson. “We receive much positive feedback from students.” For Georgie, the grant was “really helpful” in contributing towards the trip.

Until 2015, funds were raised through interest on bank bonds, an annual charity dinner, bucket collections outside local sports stadiums, plus raffles and private donations. However, with the collapse of interest rates in the last decade it is now eating into its capital reserves to fund bursaries, and is appealing for donations to help carry on its work.”

Deaf students in education can encounter a range of difficulties. “The condition is often referred to as the hidden disability due to the complex factors involved. Issues may arise from such practical difficulties as room acoustics through to the more difficult social concerns of students wanting to appear ‘normal’ and as a result to less proactive during lessons and activities,” says Malcolm. “Deaf students often need extra time to process ideas, read around the subject and reinforce their knowledge. Therefore books, photocopying of lecture notes and the purchase of software helps them to put in the extra work necessary to ‘keep up’ with their hearing classmates.”

The trust has operated alongside the other beneficiary of Bradford City supporters fundraising efforts, the Bradford Burns Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary. “Trustees are seeking to create greater understanding of the positive outcome of the tragedy at Valley Parade,” says Malcolm. “We intend to increase awareness.”

Peter’s widow, Hazel, is keen for the trust to be a lasting legacy for Peter. “My husband, was a dedicated teacher of the deaf and hearing impaired, quiet and unassuming and well-liked by staff and pupils,” she says. “He was anxious to improve the career prospects of deaf and hearing-impaired pupils and students.”

“Peter was a true visionary. Not only was he keen to promote opportunities for deaf people locally but also nationally, being on the Committee of NATED, a national organisation for teachers of the deaf in secondary, further and higher education.”

Bradford City FC featured work of PGMT in one of its match-day programmes - a new initiative to remind supporters of its work and to seek their continued support, as well as for the burns unit. The trust has also for many years benefitted from a pre-match collection and hopes such assistance will continue.

To apply for a grant students must be permanent UK residents and have an offer of a place, have secured one or are already studying in secondary, higher or further education or training in the UK. The trust may also offer bursaries to groups or organisations which provide such courses or activities.

*To help visit Cheques can be sent to the Treasurer, 66 All Hallows Road, Walkington. East Yorkshire HU1 8SJ. The trust has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Donations can also be made through a link to Amazon Smile. Helen Mead