Development & Alumni Relations Office 


06 September 2017

The winner of the Queen's Affinity Card 25th anniversary prize draw has been announced. Jim Turner from Belfast wins a weekend for two at the Merchant Hotel Belfast, including a three course evening meal at Bert's Bar, courtesy of Bank of Ireland UK.

The draw, held to mark the 25th anniversary of Queen’s Affinity Card, was organised by the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office in conjunction with MasterCard provider Bank of Ireland UK. Queen’s graduates and staff were offered the chance of a dream weekend in Belfast for taking out and/or using the Card over the summer period.

Jim Turner, who is a 1991 BSc Food Science graduate has been a Queen’s Affinity Card owner for over 10 years. Delighted to have won, he admits to thinking that he was the victim of a prank when the Bank phoned to tell him the good news!

“It was a great surprise when I got the call from Bank of Ireland UK, though at first I thought it was a ‘wind up’ from one of my friends! I am a proud owner – and regular user – of the Queen’s Affinity Card; it is certainly a great way to support the University.

"My wife and I are really looking forward to the weekend at the Merchant.”

Queen's joined forces with Bank of Ireland UK to introduce the exclusive affinity credit card in November 1992, the same month that the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests, that Charles and Eddie were at No1 with Would I lie to you and that Governor Bill Clinton won the election to become the 42nd President of the United States. It was also the month that Queen’s introduced something that has been making a huge impact on student life ever since.

Over 5,000 Queen’s graduates and staff have availed themselves of the Affinity Card in the intervening period. It’s a card that features a picture of the distinctive Lanyon Building – one of the best known buildings in Northern Ireland. Carrying the Card identifies the holder with a world-class Russell Group University and strengthens your ties with your Alma Mater, and helps current postgraduate students.

Proceeds from the Affinity Card were used by the University to establish the Alumni Postgraduate Award Fund in 1992. The Fund, which provides direct financial support for postgrads at Queen’s has issued more than 165 awards (worth over £1/4m) to enable them to continue their studies. Without the income generated by the Card many of these individuals would have been unable to complete their courses.

When a graduate or member of staff takes out a Queen’s Affinity Card, Bank of Ireland UK automatically donates £25 to the University. And the Bank also gives a percentage of the annual turnover on the card to Queen’s, again at no cost to the cardholder.

The current Award holder is Brad Campbell from Londonderry, who is undertaking a PhD in Geography at the School of Natural and Built Environment.

“The Alumni scholarship has enabled me to undertake research to address the question of whether Protestants and Catholics moved apart or together between 1981 and 2016. A key finding has been the growth in the proportion of those moving to mixed areas in the post Good Friday Agreement era, which has helped reduce residential segregation.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled to have been awarded the scholarship and would like to thank the generosity of everyone who has a Queen’s Affinity Card.”

The combined spend on the Card can be counted in the tens of millions, as it travels the world in thousands of wallets and purses. Every time someone uses the Card it helps nurture the connection to alma mater and creates an important income stream for postgraduate education, on top of which the cardholder has the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing this, at no real cost to them!

Ian Sheppard, Regional Director, NI Bank of Ireland UK, said: “Bank of Ireland UK is delighted to be celebrating this unique and very special partnership with Queen’s.

“It is especially satisfying to know that Queen’s Affinity MasterCard has supported so many postgraduate students at the University since it was launched. Long may it continue to do so!”

Previous Alumni Postgraduate Award recipient, Mark Simpson from Dungannon, who completed his PhD in polymers in says it was invaluable to him. “Affinity Card funding was vital for me as without it I couldn’t have supported myself for the duration of my PhD. It helped fund my research (experimentation and consumables) and permitted me to attend a number of All-Ireland and two international conferences.

“I was able to pursue research in a field that I am passionately interested in and it gave me the opportunity to develop academically, professionally and personally. Without the Award I would not have been able to pursue my PhD and develop these skills.” 

Existing cardholders are invited to continue using Queen’s Affinity Card to support students like Brad and Paul. And those graduates and University staff who don’t yet have the Card are encouraged to obtain one to ensure that they too can offer exceptional opportunities to brilliant postgraduates for years to come.

For more on Queen’s Affinity MasterCard go to –, email, contact Bank of Ireland 0800 0850 444 or apply online today at

General inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Caption: Winner of the weekend for two at the Merchant Hotel Jim Turner (centre) with Gerry Power and Claire Derby, Business Accounts Manager from Bank of Ireland UK.

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