Every year, for the past fifteen years, we’ve invited Old Tauntonians, parents and friends to lunch in the Old Library. These are very important people; they have left a legacy in their Will and given financially to support children through means-tested bursaries.
Today there are over twenty children in Sixth Form benefitting from philanthropic support. Nine of these are funded with 100% support from individual patrons. Two have now left school and are thriving at their chosen universities and a further five new students will start school with this support from September 2019.
Bringing our donors together with our students and especially those who recognise the importance of bursaries, works.
The lunches we host now, include bursary recipients and an ever growing number of donors- (the youngest being 22, the oldest, 92). There’s an opportunity to learn about the school from the students enjoying their education. Similarly, young people can learn a great deal from some of the most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and performers, who we count among our parents and alumni.
The hundred guests who attended our lunch are a fraction of our donor community. Many were not able to attend as they are based in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, London or they’re too busy; they’re working hard in the city, or even 95 years old and attending other social engagements! There is no such thing as “old” any more.
Our guest speaker, Chairman of the Board of Governors and one of the largest donors to the school, Mr Henry Keeling, who together with his wife (Old Weirfieldian, Jan Nuttall) support the Keeling Bursary process, was keen to point out that relationships are everything. He was quoted as saying: “Children are the lifeblood of our school and we want bright and able pupils to flourish here regardless of their financial means. We also want to cherish the relationships that we’ve built with our whole community over many years.”.