Skip to content

Sanctuary scholarship changed my life says graduate who lost husband


Gloria Ludlow

Graduate Gloria Ludlow, who was awarded a first class honours in BSc Adult Nursing despite losing her husband part way through her studies, has taken up her dream job as an NHS nurse.

Gloria was the recipient of a Sanctuary Scholarship from the University of Bradford. She took up her dream job as a nurse at St James's Hospital, Leeds, in February.

Even before she arrived in the UK in 2002, Gloria had already endured significant hardship, losing her father, brother and sister to illness in her native Zimbabwe.

Gloria Ludlow and Shirley Congdon

Pictured above: Gloria with Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon at her graduation in December 2023

Once in the UK, she became the victim of modern slavery and for nigh on 16 years was forced to work for little or no money by a number of unscrupulous firms, until one day she decided enough was enough.

She heard about the University of Bradford Sanctuary Scholarship through the Manuel Bravo Project and decided to apply.

Four years on, she says it was one of the best decisions she ever made. 

“I remember contacting the university and I just told them my story. I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. When I got the phone call telling me my application had been accepted, I was on my way home - and I think I screamed the bus down.”

But despite her gaining a place, she was to endure further hardship - her late husband, James Ludlow, whom she married in 2020, died of cancer in February 2023 aged just 35.

Gloria and James

Pictured above: Gloria with late husband James

She said: “It was a very difficult time. Suddenly, the person who had been supporting me through everything, the person I loved, was no longer there. It all happened so quickly and to be honest I don’t know how I managed to get through that.”

She added: “The university has been so supportive of me. It has been there for me. People have been there for me. I was a little bit afraid of entering higher education. I was a mature student and not from this country. But Bradford has given me lots of support, they even did a dyslexia assessment and I received support for that.

“I am grateful I came to this university, it has also supported me mentally, through counselling sessions. In addition, all of my lecturers helped me so much. I am also grateful to Mosaic Church in Leeds, where I am a member.

“Some days I felt like I couldn’t do it. Going to university was something I always desired. When I was living and working in Birmingham, I used to sit and watch students and I so wanted to be like them. Being here now, today, being able to work in the UK as a nurse for the NHS, is a dream come true. I am even thinking of buying my own home. I couldn't have done any of this without the University of Bradford.”

Gloria Ludlow and family

Pictured above: Gloria with family members (from left): Molly Mangwende (Gloria's aunt), Dianah Kahanda (Gloria's sister), Gloria, Otis Mangwende (Gloria's brother), Denise and Paul Ludlow (Gloria's later husband James's parents).

Gloria invited her in-laws Denise and Paul Ludlow, her aunt Molly Mangwende, and her brother and sister - Otis and Dianah - to her graduation ceremony in December.

Denise called her graduation "a huge achievement", adding: "At one point, after the death of our son, James, she was very broken, but found the strength to carry on."

Molly added: "The scholarship changed her life, and it's good to make more people aware of it."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon said: “Gloria’s story is humbling and inspirational. I am delighted we have been a part of her journey, and that we have helped her overcome obstacles that might otherwise have prevented her from realising her true potential. At the University of Bradford, we are committed to making a difference and Gloria is living proof that we are making that happen."

About our Sanctuary Scholarship

The Sanctuary Scholarship is worth a full fee and £4,000 towards study costs. Some recipients may be eligible for other benefits. They are designed to make it easier for asylum seekers and refugees to enter higher education.

Social mobility in action

The University of Bradford has been ranked 1st on the Social Mobility Index for the last three years (2021/22/23). The index, compiled by the Higher Education Policy Institute, ranks universities based on the impact they have on people’s social circumstances. The top ranking means the University of Bradford does more than any other English university to improve people’s life chances.

Values led

The University has long championed its values-led approach to higher education, ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything it does, from course design to graduate work placements.