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BBC Stephen Nolan reveals how he helps fund working-class kids' education

By Cate McCurry

Published 11/08/2016

‘Satisfaction’: Stephen Nolan
‘Satisfaction’: Stephen Nolan

BBC radio star Stephen Nolan has revealed he has paid for working-class children to attend top grammar schools in Northern Ireland.

The radio host was discussing whether the BBC should reveal the salaries of its top earners when he made the disclosure.

Former Tory minister Edwina Currie and business leader Bill Jeffrey were guest commentators on Radio Ulster's Nolan Show as the pair debated the Beeb's rules on publishing its employees' salaries.

When asked by a caller how he spends his earnings and whether he donates to charity, Nolan responded that he has covered school fees to allow children from a poor background to go to a "good school".

The former Belfast Inst pupil was hesitant as he revealed he gets "great satisfaction" from his good deed.

"What I have done - and I am hesitating as to whether I should actually disclose this or not because I have chosen not to up until now - is that there have been some kids from working-class estates who had the qualifications to go to a good school in Northern Ireland and maybe their mums and dads couldn't afford the fees and they couldn't afford the school uniforms and they couldn't afford the sports trips and all that.

"What I have done is funded those kids through education and to this day they don't know it's me."

The caller, Michael replied: "That's beautiful."

Nolan added: "Now there's the power of money. It doesn't make me any better than anyone else. It doesn't make me better than a kid putting a pound in a collection tin but I've got so much satisfaction.

"I'll tell you now, I've got more satisfaction over doing that than I have buying a top of the range car with my money." Ms Currie told Nolan it was "admirable" that he hasn't boasted about it. However, Nolan had second thoughts. "I probably shouldn't have even said it this morning, I'm going to regret saying it now," he said.

The listener went on to praise Nolan. "That's wonderful, Stephen. I'm not phoning up to put you on the spot, it's more just to raise the issue that we can all do things, that we can all give money to charities," he said.

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