Alumni engagement and philanthropy


07 September 2021

Highlighting a life of volunteering, the Development and Alumni Relations Office are delighted to announce Andy Wells, Class of 1974 (Law), as the Allstate NI Queen’s Alumni Volunteer of the Year, 2021.

Andy’s achievement follows years of volunteering contributions to Queen’s Boat Clubs. He took up rowing in 1970, while at Queen’s, and subsequently became Vice-Captain of the Queen’s Boat Club in the early 70s. Since then, he has dedicated over 50 years to Queen’s rowing and has shaped the culture and progression of the clubs at Queen’s.

After graduating, he joined The Lady Victoria Boat Club (the Queen’s rowing alumni club), becoming its Captain from 1981-83 and continuing a lifetime tradition of volunteering. Of great significance was his position within Queen’s Ladies’ Boat Club; he has been a dedicated volunteer for over 50 years and a volunteer coach of the ladies’ team for over 40 years, particularly within the novice and beginner squads.

In 1975, the ladies’ squad represented Ireland, winning at the home internationals and Irish senior championships in 1977. He coached the men’s novice squad in 1980-81, where they came second place in the Irish Novice Championships, and took the same crew to Henley to race in the Ladies’ Plate.

Since then, he has coached crews that won numerous championships from 1977, through to 2019. He is a recognised face at both ladies’ and men’s events, either as a dedicated coach or enthusiastic spectator and has celebrated alongside Queen’s Rowing in their many successes.

Friends and colleagues have celebrated his enthusiasm and passion for the sport, and for ladies’ rowing, and he has been named within the Club’s Roll of Honour:

“His contribution to generations of Queens’s rowers is immense: his time commitment, coaching,  infectious enthusiasm and his quiet generosity behind the scenes in supporting one funding need or another. The character of Queen’s Rowing and its success owes much to the half-Century of support and involvement given to it by Andy Wells.”

In 2020 the President of Rowing Ireland also awarded Andy with a beautiful tankard “for his services to Rowing.”

Andy’s volunteering titles come not only from within the University, but within the public sector. He was appointed as Clerk of the Crown for Northern Ireland, Keeper of the Great Seal of Northern Ireland and he has recently sworn in Lady Chief Justice Keegan. 

“Volunteering is important - whether it is litter picking, building homes and schools in foreign countries, or taking part in the many opportunities here at the University, all organisations need and benefit from voluntary help. Making a contribution to improve things for all is one of the most satisfying endeavours.  I encourage everyone to apply their talents and find new ones; you will be better for it and so will society.” You can view Andy's video here. 

Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Nathalie Trott, said: “Andy epitomises what an alumni volunteer is and does. He is a wonderful example of how volunteering positively impacts the lives of others. He has given his time, expertise and dedication to Queen’s Rowing for over 50 years and has shaped generations of rowers at Queen’s Boat Clubs and The Lady Victoria Boat Club.

 “We hope he inspires fellow alumni to recognise the value in becoming a volunteer, to give their time and shape futures at Queen’s.”

To find out more about the Allstate NI Queen’s Alumni Volunteer of the Year and read about previous winners, please visit:








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