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Dear Friend of the Trust,


With us well passed the autumnal equinox (or the vernal equinox if you live in the Southern hemisphere) we thought we’d share some news with you from the Trust.



First of all, a point of admin. We are moving all our admin into the digital age. To that end, can all donors please lookout for an email from DocuSign regarding Gift Aid forms. This will only take 2 minutes to complete and will help us enormously with our annual Gift Aid applications to ensure we can increase the value of your donation by 25%.


Balliol Event

Our highlight for the year was hosting a dinner in September in the Fellows' dining room at Balliol College where we had our Patron, Peter, and his wife, Autumn, and special guest Sinethemba “Snaps” Mafanya, Harry Birrell Scholar no 2, in attendance. Snaps is the first Harry Birrell scholar to study at Oxford, so being able to dine at his college with a number of his fellow Oxford Executive MBA students in attendance made for a very special evening. Snaps spoke wonderfully and reminded us supporters how winning a Harry Birrell scholarship had allowed him to fulfil his potential where the odds for his peer group from rural Umtata in the Eastern Cape were so poor. He related how the award of the Harry Birrell scholarship had also given him such confidence as a young teenager.


We were also able to raise invaluable funds for the Patron’s Jubilee Endowment Fund on the evening through the generosity of supporters who gave prizes and the generosity of supporters who bid for the auction prizes. Big “thank yous” go to the More family for a wonderful safari at their Lion Sands lodge in South Africa, Zara Tindall for a riding lesson at Aston Farm, Peter Phillips for a day’s pheasant shooting at Gatcombe, the Macallan for a VIP visit to their magnificent highland distillery and Bruce Little for the “Fair Warrior” Lion bronze. With some extremely generous “double matching” from my employers the Edrington Group we raised over £50,000 on the night.


Marathon Heroes

With £12,000 raised from three runners running the London marathon for the Trust, as well as Liz Currie kindly including the Trust as a beneficiary charity to her incredible venture of running 50 marathons before the age of 50, we are now over halfway to raising the £250,000 target we set to raise for the Trust by the end of our Jubilee year in 2021. A big thank you to Rob, Sabbir, Dan & Liz for running these marathons. We hope to have some spots for next year's London Marathon so if you or a friend or colleague are keen to run the London Marathon and think you can raise a good sum for the Trust please do let us know.


New Scholars

We are delighted to announce the award of four new scholarships for the start of the academic year for 2020: Anezisa, Likhona, Litha and Lunje. This will mean that we have 14 children in total studying at the four high schools in Grahamstown across the five academic years for 2020. A summary of the new scholars’ motivation statements (written by their teachers) which are used as part of the scholar selection process are attached, they make for inspiring reading.


On a sad note, we report the death of Sylvia Birrell earlier this year. Sylvia was married to Harry for 45 years and was a tremendous educator being Vice Principal of the Diocesan School for Girls for over a decade. Like Harry, she was a great believer in the potential of youngsters and that they should always be given a chance, especially when they had made mistakes. A fomer colleague on learning of Sylvia’s death described her as “the quintessence of the Eastern Cape; warmth, candour, strength and unpretentiousness. At ease with sheep, pineapples, cricketers, girls, kings and God”.


Ways to support the trust

Thank you all for your continued support for our scholars. We rely totally on the on-going generosity of our friends to fulfil the Trust’s goals for which we are very, very grateful.


As part of our on-going fundraising to raise the £250,000 by the end of 2021 to create the Patron’s Jubilee Endowment Fund please do consider the Harry Birrell Scholarship Trust in your future philanthropic planning in one of the following ways:

• A regular donation to the HBST. As we approach our 25th birthday we hope that a number of friends will consider donating £25 a month to the Trust on an on-going basis.

• A one-off gift to the Patron’s Jubilee Endowment Fund.

• Make the Trust a beneficiary with your Amazon shopping, (it won't cost you a penny).

• Running a marathon or doing an alternative sponsored fundraiser to the Trust. We hope to have 3 more places for the 2020 London Marathon kindly sourced by our Patron.

• Acquiring a limited edition Bruce Little “Fair Warrior” bronze Lion, signed by five former British Lions captains. • Considering the HBST in “legacy” planning.

• Acquiring a three-night luxury stay at the private Nkonka Game reserve in South Africa for 8 (all meals, game drives included) for £12,000 will trigger a donation to the Trust ( • When planning a safari or holiday to South Africa please consider using the More Family’s private travel booking desk (Ashley Qwabe, ) and mention that you are a friend of the HBST. They have a quite stupendous new reserve Marataba,( The More Family have been very generous supporters of the HBST and their African holidays are best in class.


Please in the first instance direct all queries regarding how you may be able to support the Jubillee Campaign to


Yours faithfully with very best wishes,

Stephen Sparrow

Chairman of Trustees


HBST Scholars Elect 2020

Recommendations written by the pupil’s teachers

Graeme College

Anezisa (Grade 8 – 2020)
Anezisa has applied to join Graeme College in Grade 8 from the Kat River Montessori school where he is currently Head Boy and has shown great potential in Grade 7. The staff have described him as a 'perfect leader' at the school but have indicated that there is sadly no possibility of him affording the financial demand of attending most schools.

Sadly, both of his parents died in a car crash and he has also since lost his grandfather. He currently lives with his grandmother and receives financial assistance from an uncle. The school has asked us to consider moving him into our boarding facility.

Anezisa has excelled in all spheres of school. He achieves in the classroom, on the sports fields and in his leadership role. As a result, we are desperately hoping to assist him and help this young man fulfill his potential. His story is indeed a very sad one, and yet he has still somehow excelled.

I have rarely seen a more worthy candidate for our help. And without the support of the Harry Birrell Scholarship Fund, many of these young men would lose the opportunity of a great education.

St Andrew’s College

Likhona (Grade 10 – 2020)
It is my pleasure to write a letter of reference for such a dedicated respectful young man as Likhona. He has matured over the past 2 years, and his dedication has seen him achieve 70% for English, 85% for Mathematics and 78% for Science in his most recent report.

Likhona has been at College since his Grade 8 at the beginning of 2018. He joined College as an SSP scholar from the very rural Alice town outside Grahamstown. He is a very hard working and has since joined the pipe band and very much involved in sports throughout College.

I have no hesitation in recommending Likhona for this scholarship as he is well deserving of this opportunity. Despite being raised by a single mother and coming from the remote rural area in the Eastern Cape, he has adapted and embraced being part of the College family. He has taken part in all the House activities with great enthusiasm and has a close bond with the rest of the Grade 9 group in his house and College and continues to show good leadership skills.

Victoria Girls

Lunje (Grade 8 – 2020)
I am writing this letter at the request of Lunje, a Grade 7 pupil, who is currently the Head Girl at Good Shepherd Primary. Hoboshe resides with her parents, a younger sister and an older brother. Her mother is unemployed, and her father works as a barber.

Lunje is a kind and caring character. She is driven and always determined to be the best in everything she puts her mind to. Currently, 2nd in the grade she is an academic with a true passion for Mathematics and English, which is evident in her performances.

She is hard working and committed in all aspects of school life. She started a grade 4 spelling club at Good Shepherd Primary – her own initiative, in which she daily sacrifices her break-times to help grade 4 learners who are struggling with spelling.

Lunje is well-mannered and well-spoken. She is an exceptional leader and speaker, who can engage any audience that she addresses. She always encourages and motivates her fellow peers to be better and to do more. She is not only determined to succeed but thrives on seeing other learners succeed as well.
Lunje also has a passion for football and netball.

Lunje has been accepted to Victoria Girl’s High School for Grade 8 next year. Unfortunately, with her father being the only source of income – they are unable to afford the school-fees. She has potential for great success. This is our plea, as the Good Shepherd family – to consider Lunje for the Harry Birrell Scholarship. It will act as the catalyst that she needs to pave her way to greater opportunities in life.


Litha (2020 – Grade 9)
Litha is currently in Grade 8 and is a boarder. Litha’s bright smile and genuine interest in others has helped her to make friends and settle into boarding life. Litha involves herself in all aspects of the school, educational and socially, with enthusiasm and good humour.

Litha is warm and friendly and her thirst for knowledge is immense. She asks many questions and is very persistent in ensuring that she has everything she needs for success.

Litha is a local Grahamstown girl and is currently being support by DSG and as such bursary support would be hugely beneficial.

Pretty (2020 – Grade 9) *

Pretty is currently a Gr 8 DSG boarder and has made a good start to her high school career. She is working diligently and has achieved a pleasing set of results thus far. She does particularly well in isiXhosa and Mathematics. Pretty is sociable and friendly, and has settled into Manyano House well. She is well-liked by her peers and has made a number of good friends. She involves herself in a number of different aspects of school life, both on the sporting and cultural front. Pretty comes from Grahamstown and came to the DSG from Holy Cross. She is currently being supported by DSG and as such bursary support would be beneficial.

After release of the Autumn 2019 Update the trustees were informed that one of the existing HBST Scholars would for family reasons be continuing their education away from Grahamstown in 2020, and so the decision was taken to award an additional HBST Scholarship for 2020 to Pretty

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