Keeping the Cost of Sport Down for Students

This year’s Gryphons Club Fund will significantly reduce the cost of participating in sport at the University of Leeds which involves 7,500 students. The fund is worth £290k and helps to cover costs for all 70 of the University’s sports clubs.

For 2019/20 onwards there will be a more consistent allocation of funds across all clubs. This will ensure that as many students as possible are able to participate in sport whilst at the University. All clubs will get a minimum 10% contribution towards costs, ensuring everyone receives fair support, whether you are involved with kickboxing, rowing or horse riding. We want to help all clubs and their members develop and grow, whether that means having more teams or entering into more competitions.

The fund was created in 2016, following student feedback about the high costs associated with participating in sport. Its sole aim is to help students with the cost of training and playing sport during their time at Leeds.

In addition to the Gryphons Club Fund, the University continues to provide free access to sports facilities for training slots and certain competitions to all its student club members. This means that the previously compulsory Sports Pass in order to use University Facilities is not needed, saving each student £77.50 per year.

Ella Murphy from the University of Leeds Boat Club said;

“We are so grateful to Leeds Sport for our funding this year, it goes a long way in helping us be the best university at providing high-performance and participation programmes simultaneously. Every one of our members benefit from the funding, ensuring as many students can enjoy rowing alongside their studies.”

The boat club will be using their allocation from the fund to;

• Lower membership costs to ensure the club is accessible to more students.
• Increase national and local representation for both the club and the university by lowering competition entry fees.
• Lower costs of travel to and from competition for all members.

We hope the fund will encourage more and more students to get involved with sport whilst at University by helping to significantly reduce the cost of those participating.

Circuits on the grass

Are you feeling torn between hitting the gym or staying out and enjoying the sunshine? We may have the perfect solution for you.


On 6 August, from 2-4pm, The Edge will be hosting free circuit sessions on the grassy area opposite The Edge and adjacent to the Wellbeing, Safety & Health building.

The event will be divided into eight 15 minute slots and each instructor-led session will include 10 unique exercise stations.

All those who complete a full circuit will be given the chance to win a prize!


Each session will be open to both Edge members and non-members so why not bring some friends along?

There will be Edge fitness professionals on hand to run through warm-ups with you as well as answer any questions you may have about fitness, form or technique.

Join us!

You can sign up and secure a place in one of our sessions by contacting us at and let us know which of the sessions below suits you best. Or, if you prefer, just come along on the day and we should be able to fit you in.



So be sure to drop by and join us for a session in the sun (hopefully 😎).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Gryphons Abroad 2019: Philosophy, Anatomy and Touch Rugby!

Gryphons Abroad Group Picture

Today was our second day at Grattan school working with four local primary schools.

In today’s classroom lessons we taught the children Philosophy, marketing and anatomy. These subjects are not normally taught at school in the children’s age groups so it was something new for them to be introduced to. They really enjoyed the lessons and had a lot of fun.Students teaching the kids in South Africa

In addition to teaching them leadership skills in organisation, planning, communication and motivation the sport we led was rugby. Teaching rugby to such a huge group of children was daunting and challenging at times, however the children responded well and were able to all play touch rugby matches by the end of the session with everyone getting involved.

After the session finished, some of the kids stayed around to play football with us – unfortunately beating us with a golden goal! Getting to know the children by playing with them in break times and after the sports sessions has definitely been my highlight of the trip!


Make sure to keep up to date with all of the progress on the Leeds Sport Instagram.

Playing an Active Role in the Netball World Cup

Natalie Haythornthwaite

This year, at the Vitality Netball World Cup, the University of Leeds has been represented by alumnae Natalie Haythornthwaite and Ciara Crosbie and members of staff Suzanne Glavin and Kathy Fairclough who represented as volunteers and did Leeds proud.

University of Leeds Alumna Natalie Haythornthwaite represented England in the recent 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup held in Liverpool; reaching the semi-final, narrowly losing to New Zealand, and beating South Africa to win team bronze. Ciara Crosbie made her World Cup debut, representing Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland finished 8th at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and were looking to improve on that ranking in Liverpool. Unfortunately they could only manage 10th place after a tough set of fixtures which included playing the 2015 winners, Australia, in their opening match.

Ciara currently plays for Belfast Ladies and had made 9 international appearances prior to this World Cup campaign.
Natalie currently plays for Australian Super Netball League side New South Wales Swifts, and has previously played for Manchester Thunder and Wasps Netball in the English Superleague; winning consecutive titles with Wasps in 2017 and 2018 since leaving University. Additionally, she was part of the team that won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Speaking to our Head of Sport, Suzanne Glavin, after the semi-final match she had some kind words to say about her time at The University of Leeds and to all of our current students playing netball;

“I enjoyed my time at The University of Leeds, playing university netball – BUCS was always fun! Good luck and enjoy BUCS league!”

Suzanne Glavin at Netball World Cup

Suzanne was a Pivoteer at the World Cup working in Press Operations. Her role involved supporting the many photographers, ensuring everyone was where they should be and were positioned to get the best possible shots. In addition to this, on finals day Suzanne was allocated as a Mixed Zone team member, an exciting but high pressure role! She was responsible for escorting both coaches and selected team members from each side from court to talk to the world’s sports broadcasters and written press in a timely fashion. Pivoteers are only told which players have been requested for interviews within a few minutes of the final whistle and can have a very short window of time to get everything done – on finals day all of this had to be completed within eight minutes! Suzanne was lucky to escort Rachel Dunn, a popular England Roses player to the Mixed Zone, but also quite an undertaking as many fans were demanding her attention!

Suzanne said;

“I am very privileged to represent the University of Leeds in this voluntary press operations role in actively supporting the promotion of world class female sport to global audiences. I genuinely hope that it inspires and motivates people to be active and play more sport.”


Uni staff member volunteering at the Netball World Cup

Photo Credit: Danny Dalton for Netball Scoop

Another University of Leeds staff Pivoteer, Kathy Fairclough from the Alumni office was there as a Technical Official scoring and timing the games. She worked on 60 matches over ten days, officiating during the semi-final which she cited as her personal highlight of the whole experience and was lucky enough to witness England win the bronze medal! Read more about Kathy’s experience on the Yorkshire Netball Facebook Page where she wrote five blog entries during the course of the tournament.

It was amazing to not only have one of our Leeds Sporting Alumni playing for England, but also to have two of our fantastic staff members volunteer at the event which reached one of the largest global audiences for a Netball World Cup, helping to raise the profile of Netball across the world.



Gryphons Abroad 2019: Leadership & Lessons

Children doing netball drills in South Africa

Today was the first day of our week at Gratton School. Joining us at Gratton were children from Holy Child School, Little Flower School and John Wesley School. The children were all taught a leadership session, a classroom lesson and a sport lesson. 

The day started off with the leadership lesson which was centered around planning. The children were taught the importance of planning when teaching a lesson and took part in various games which encouraged them to discuss planning and how things could be done differently.

Afterwards, the students taught a classroom lesson, with each school receiving a lesson based around a differing subject. Izzy taught her school about creative writing; Charlie taught her school about memory and different types of learning which they could apply to their studies; Sofia taught her class about the Tudors and finally India taught her class about the history of art.Children being taught netball skills in south africa

Finally, each school took part in a netball session. This focused on both passing and footwork. The children were given drills which practiced their chest and shoulder passing. After they had got the hang of passing, they progressed onto practicing their footwork and pivoting. A final drill was done which incorporated both the passing and footwork which had been practiced throughout the session.

The day finished by bringing all of the children together and organising six games of netball. We played a mini tournament, with the winning team moving round to play another team.

A really good first day!

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the progress on the Leeds Sport Instagram.

Gryphons Abroad 2019: Cycling to Success!

kids learning to ride bikes in South Africa

Today was our last day at Mnyakanya High School. A total of 29 people can now ride a bike to varying degrees, with the majority getting practice out on the road before the end of the day which was fantastic!

We started off the day with our usual games and then split off into our groups. The beginners group which I had the pleasure of teaching managed to all peddle the bikes independently and we had fun learning about the local culture and their way of life along the way. After lunch we had the majority of the group learn how to fix bike brakes – to add to their repertoire of mechanical skills. Moreover, six of the group are now fully trained to build a bike!boy fixing bike

The day ended as the trip began with singing and dancing, but came to an emotional end as we said goodbye. Hopefully one day all the children will be able to ride their own bike and use the skills we taught them to provide more ease of opportunity. Even if only in travelling to school to gain an easier education!

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the progress on the Leeds Sport Instagram.

Thanks for reading,



Gryphons Abroad 2019: Obstacle Courses, Changing Tyres & “Waka Waka”!

Group Pic of students and staff in south africa

My name is Emily and I’m 18 (excited to be turning 19 here in South Africa). I study International Relations and have found seeing the rural and traditional lifestyles incredibly interesting. It’s amazing to hear stories of the students’ lives and their perceptions on life. 

We started the day with a dance to ‘waka waka’ upon request from the students. We loved it as much as they did! I was working with the ‘expert group’ today. Day two of cycling involved setting up lots of obstacle courses and challenges like standing up in the seat and passing cones whilst cycling. It is unbelievable how fast the kids have learnt and how determined they are to keep cycling.Kids in South Africa repairing a bicycle

After a chatty lunch we started the maintenance training. Today the kids successfully learnt how to change a tyre and no one was afraid to get their hands dirty. It as great to hear the girls excited about practical mechanics and sharing ambitions to become an engineer.  The day finished with beach ball games in the sun and an incredible meet and greet at the local primary school.

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the progress on the Leeds Sport Instagram.

Gryphons Abroad 2019: Meet, Greet and Let’s Get Going!

Group Photo of south African students

My name is Jessica McCarrick. I’m 20 years old and study Fashion Marketing. This is the story of our first day in South Africa and the beginning of the cycling training.

With the rise of our first South African sun, the group felt the daunting task creeping slowly upon us. The group’s energy was high as months of fundraising and preparation was finally coming to fruition. Arriving at the school, we were met with sheer enthusiasm and applause – a warm welcome if ever there was one. It perfectly set the tone for a day filled with laughter and learning. We were treated to a tour, then quickly began warming up on the field. The children were eager to grab a bike and go, making our jobs a lot easier. After a quick safety talk, they hopped onto a bike and began their journey in learning to ride.


Gryphons Abroad Student helping child to ride a bikeThe biggest achievement of the day was giving the students a solid understanding in preparation for the rest of the week’s cycling training. Every child got on a bike with confidence and they all improved. Progression as the week goes on will certainly be down to their dedication. It was truly heart warming to see.

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the progress on the Leeds Sport Instagram.

Henley Royal Regatta – Brigham’s Dream Debut

The 2019 Henley Royal Regatta took place from 3 to 7 July and is the best-known regatta in the world.

Sports Scholar Matt Brigham qualified for the Diamond Challenge sculls on Friday 28 June. He would face double Olympic champion and six-time Henley winner, Mahe Drysdale on Thursday 4 July. Matt caused the biggest upset of the regatta and knocked Drysdale out, beating him by three and a half lengths! The entire rowing community was talking about Matt; he became an overnight sensation!
The next day, Matt faced world U23 medalist Luuk Adema from the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. Unfortunately Matt lost the race by two lengths and Adema progressed to the semifinals. 

Sports Scholar Matt Brigham rowing at the Henley Royal Regatta against double olympic champion Mahe Drysdale

Matt has only been rowing for four years since he started at the University of Leeds to study Medicine. He joined the GB Start programme two years ago, having swam his whole life. GB Start is a specialist talent identification programme that trains and develop athletes for the GB Rowing Team. Matt was rowing as an intermediate in his second year, so his progress has been phenomenal.
Matt trains with the University of Leeds Boat Club at the Leeds Boat House with GB Start coach, Matt Paul, and Head of Rowing, Dan Grant.

University of Leeds Boat Club Legends Crew at Henley Royal Regatta 2019

In addition to Matt’s success, the University of Leeds Boat Club had a boat of legends in the Centenary Row Past crew to celebrate their 100th year. 

The crew was made up of: Emma Lindsay (Cox), Ella Murphy, Jordan Bryne, Steve O’Connor, Ben Cox, Helen Brown, Grace Clough, Chris Williams and Tom Clements.

Finally, a huge congratulations to Matt for his fantastic Henley Royal debut and the Boat Club on a great year.

University of Leeds Boat Club Legends Crew in the row past at henley royal regatta 2019

Photographs courtesy of University of Leeds Boat Club.

University of Leeds Hosts World Cup Cricket Teams

Sri Lankan Cricket Team Playing at Weetwood

The University of Leeds Sports Park Weetwood was used as a training ground for many of the international teams during this year’s Cricket World Cup. It played host to world-class teams including England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, where teams trained in between matches.

It was a huge privilege for Sports Park Weetwood to be chosen as a training ground. Our facilities looked fantastic, a credit to Dave Thackeray and his grounds team. Head of Sport, Suzanne Glavin said;

“Providing our sports facilities for visiting world-class international teams is a real opportunity for us to promote globally, in addition to creating valuable new working relationships around education, sport and global exchanges for the betterment of both our staff and students. It was lovely to receive feedback from Chandima Mapatuna, Head of Sri Lanka International Cricket that Sports Park Weetwood was a quality training venue, the hospitality was fantastic and the University catering was the best they had in the entire six weeks of touring.”

The Sri Lankan team have fed back that they are interested in bringing the Sri Lanka International programme to the University in future years.Sri Lankan Cricket teams playing cricket at Uni of Leeds Sports Park Weetwood

This year’s Cricket World Cup has seen some incredible sporting moments, with the Emerald Headingley Cricket Ground hosting a handful of fixtures including; England v Sri Lanka on the 21 June, Pakistan v Afghanistan on 29 June and Afghanistan v West Indies on 4 July.

This is not the first time that the University of Leeds has been chosen by high profile international sports teams, proving the role that sport plays in reaching global markets and supporting the University’s international focus.

  • The Chinese Olympic team used the University as a base before London 2012.
  • Sports Park Weetwood was chosen as a training ground by the Australian Schoolboys Rugby League team.
  • Only last month the University played host to the MCCU V Yorkshire first class cricket match.
  • The Edge was used by the Canadian wheelchair rugby team as a training camp prior to the 2012 Paralympics.
  • The Edge was used by the North Queensland Cowboys rugby team in preparation for the Dacia World Club Challenge in 2016.
  • And Sports Park Weetwood has also hosted the England, rugby union Six Nations Training squad in previous years.

We went up to capture the Sri Lankan team in action – check out our Facebook album to see the rest of the photos.