Midlands entrepreneur and former Aston Villa FC Chairman Sir Doug Ellis has donated more than £1 million to help fund two key building developments at the University of Birmingham that will have a life-changing impact on the city.

In donations that total more than £1.1 million, Sir Doug is supporting the University of Birmingham School and the Institute of Translational Medicine.

Opening in September 2015, the comprehensive, co-educational University of Birmingham School will aim to transform pupils’ lives through providing world-class facilities, excellent teaching and close links with the University. It will take pupils from five areas of the city to ensure it reflects the social, cultural and ethnic diversity of Birmingham.

Sir Doug said he was very impressed by the school, particularly its plans to offer students from different social and cultural backgrounds an excellent education.

‘I’ve always been keen to support children’s causes and the provision of high quality education to those who would otherwise be denied the opportunity is something very close to my heart,’ he added.

University of Birmingham School Principal Mike Roden said he was told about Sir Doug’s gift on Christmas Day, and the news made an excellent Christmas present.

‘We’re incredibly grateful for this generous gift. We’re trying to create an excellent facility that everyone in Birmingham can be proud of, so it’s fantastic that such a senior figure in the local community has recognised the school’s worth and chosen to support the project,’ he added.

Sir Doug is also contributing generously to the Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM), a new building project that will aim to cure disease and saves lives through pioneering science.

The ITM will help progress the very latest scientific research findings from the University into enhanced treatments for patients across a range of major health issues including cancer and liver disease.

Building on Birmingham’s excellent track record in clinical research, the ITM will increase the city’s capacity to deliver potentially life-saving trials by bringing patients, clinicians and researchers together under one roof. This will drastically speed up the time it takes to develop new treatments for patients and will also make it easier for companies to work closely with clinicians and academics, bringing additional investment into Birmingham.

‘As a cancer survivor myself, I felt compelled to support this exciting new approach that will touch the lives of so many patients, both locally and nationally,’ Sir Doug said.

Based within the former Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, the ITM will include clinical research facilities, consulting rooms, a Centre for Rare Diseases, laboratories, offices and meeting rooms. The lecture theatre in the former QE board room will be named after Sir Doug in recognition of his gift.

Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Interim Director of the ITM, said: ‘Sir Doug is exceptionally generous and his donation will make a substantial impact on a new world-class medical facility that will build on the city’s existing clinical trials excellence.’

Sir Doug is keen for others to support these initiatives too: ‘I encourage anyone who wants to join me in making a real difference to the lives of young people and those suffering from serious illness in this city to talk to the fundraising team at the University on 0121 4148894,’ he said.

• Sir Doug’s previous generous donations to the University include £415,000, which supported the Ground Floor Barnes Library refurbishment and Sir Doug Ellis Learning Hub in the Medical School.

• The ITM is being delivered by Birmingham Health Partners (BHP), a collaboration which brings together the clinical, scientific and academic excellence of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Birmingham, and Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.