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A fitting tribute for James Rapley

Family of former Seymour man killed in a road crash in Los Angeles before Christmas set up a Melbourne University scholarship in his honour.

April 24, 2014 3:56am

Inaugural James Rapley Memorial Scholarship winner Mathew Peverill holds the honour board surrounded by members of the Rapley family - David (brother of James), Judy (mother), John (father) David Macedo (boyfriend of sister Julia), Julia, and James' girlfriend Karen Scott.

The family and alma mater of former Seymour man James Rapley, tragically killed while cycling in Los Angeles before Christmas, has set up a scholarship in his honour.

Melbourne University’s Whitley College launched the James Rapley Memorial Scholarship last week. James’ family were in attendance.

The scholarship is for students from a rural background who are studying Engineering or Science degrees at the university.

James lived at Whitley College from 2003 to 2005. He grew up in Seymour and he was offered, and accepted, a full academic scholarship to study at Melbourne University.

He graduated with Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees in 2007 and he had a successful career in software development.

‘‘The death of James Rapley is a real sorrow for us as a college, because we have lost such a bright and vibrant member of our community,’’ Whitley College principal Reverend Frank Rees said.

‘‘However, I appreciate the decision by James’s family to make this scholarship in his honour and I believe other brilliant students like James would receive practical help from this memorial scholarship.

‘‘The College staff remember James as a highly intelligent student and talented sportsman,’’ Whitley College warden Margie Welsford said.

‘‘As a president of the Student Club, he proved to be an impressive leader who was thorough, careful, responsible and ethical.’’

James’ father John Rapley told the gathering that he and wife Judy ‘‘thought that what we could try to do was to ensure his memory continued and — given that he had such a tremendous social conscience and was frequently donating not only his money but his time towards a number of charitable undertakings — we thought that the establishment of a perpetual scholarship to help rural students, who would be studying either an Engineering or Science degree, to meet part of their living costs at Whitley College would be the most appropriate first step’’.

‘‘Transitioning from high school to university, while at the same time moving from a rural environment to the city, is a mammoth step in itself without, at the same time, having to find part-time employment to pay for living expenses,’’ Mr Rapley said.

‘‘To properly honour James we felt that the establishment of a scholarship, to offset some of their first-year accommodation fees at Whitley College, was the most appropriate thing we could do.’’

The first scholarship recipient is Mathew Peverill who comes from Charlton and is studying science with the aim of becoming an electrical engineer.

‘‘I would especially like to thank James’ family,’’ he said.

‘‘It is an honour to receive this memorial scholarship. After completing my Bachelor of Science, I hope to master electrical engineering similar to what James did.’’

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