A new concert hall in Birmingham has been renamed in honour of a local entrepreneur who donated £1 million to the venue.
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, which opened in September, has named its performance venue The Bradshaw Hall after Keith Bradshaw, the co-founder of car dealership group Listers.
Mr Bradshaw personally donated £1 million to Birmingham City University’s (BCU) conservatoire which will be used to fund initiatives including student scholarships, educational outreach programmes across the West Midlands, teaching posts and visiting fellowships.
The Bradshaw Hall has 500 seats and is used for student concerts and public performances as well as radio and television broadcasts.
Born in Aston, Mr Bradshaw co-founded Listers in 1979 with Terry Lister in Coventry and the group has grown into one of England’s largest independent dealer groups.
His success has seen him feature regularly in the annual Birmingham Post Rich List, including at 25th place in the 2018 countdown with an estimated personal fortune of £215 million.
As well as several high-profile business interests, he is also co-owner of Halesowen-based Laney Headstock, which produces a range of musical instruments and sound reinforcement products, and is chairman of property company Nurton Developments.
He served as High Sheriff for the West Midlands between 2016 and 2017, making him the Queen’s judicial representative in the county at that time, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from BCU in 2016.
Mr Bradshaw said: “I am a firm believer that, those who can, need to be entrepreneurial with their philanthropy, and giving back needs to create a viable plan that will deliver tangible and sustainable benefits for society as a whole.
“Music creation and performance has always been at the soul of this city and it is humbling to know the conservatoire is providing life-changing opportunities for local youngsters at a time when access to music budgets is being cut.
“I am delighted I am able to support the work of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and this commitment will not only attract the best performers and students from around the world to our city but also introduce new audiences to the wonderful array of music genres the conservatoire offers.
“I hope my gift inspires other philanthropists to follow suit and do the same.
“It is unfortunate that too many local patrons favour London-based institutions but I feel those who have made good here in Birmingham should look closer to home when wanting to give back.”
The naming of the conservatoire’s performance space in Mr Bradshaw’s honour will be revealed tonight during the inaugural vice-chancellor’s recital.
These are a new series of concerts featuring musicians currently studying at the conservatoire and who have been personally selected by the vice-chancellor.
Speaking ahead of the event, BCU’s vice-chancellor Professor Philip Plowden said: “In creating the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, we were given a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a state-of-the-art music facility for the great performers of tomorrow.
“Keith’s generous gift ensures we can now continue that work well into the future and expand upon current initiatives, providing unique educational opportunities and widening participation to welcome more under-represented groups to study and enjoy music at our university.
“Keith’s donation provides further support for our work of introducing more young people to music and musicianship through our outreach programmes across the region.
“We hope very much this will provide an excellent foundation for further donations to support this important work and ensuring that music remains something everyone in our society can celebrate and enjoy.”