Honorary Fellow nominated for prestigious award


One of Leeds Trinity University’s Honorary Fellows has been shortlisted for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA) 2023.

Elderly male wearing cap and gown stands at lectern.

Leeds Trinity alumnus and humanitarian, John Flanagan, is nominated for the prestigious award in recognition of his work in the Philippines helping disadvantaged communities.

Named in honour of Scotland’s son, Robert Burns, the RBHA recognises courage, commitment, inspiration, and hands-on humanitarian efforts from people of any nationality, race, age, or gender.

John, who spent nearly 25 years working as a drama teacher in the UK and Singapore, moved to the Philippines in 2010 to dedicate his life to helping thousands of people affected by adverse circumstances. In the last 10 years, John has helped more than 250,000 people through the provision of food, clothing and other materials. He does this with no funding or sponsorship, but through his own funds and fundraising efforts.

John was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Leeds Trinity in 2022, recognising his contribution to the University community and wider world.

John said: “I was totally taken by surprise to hear that I have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award and very humbled that my efforts to help others is appreciated. My work is entirely unfunded, and I have no sponsorship of any kind since I decided to undertake my charity work back in 2010. The gratitude of the people and communities I have helped has been overwhelming and shows no sign of abating.”

Brett Arnall, Alumni Relations Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear that John had been nominated for this prestigious award in recognition of his selfless work to support and improve the lives of so many people in the Philippines.

“As a University we are very proud to have recognised John as an Honorary Fellow and personally I was so pleased to be able to meet him in 2022 at the official Honorary Fellows ceremony. John epitomises the community spirit, kindness and giving to others that typifies Leeds Trinity – what he has done is second to none when you consider the amount of people he has supported.”

The winner of the RBHA will be announced on Wednesday 25 January.

For more information about Leeds Trinity University’s Alumni community, visit the website.