POST BY: Year 13 student Elyana E
~ An interview with school Archivist, Mr. Weston on the beginnings of the Bursary Fund ~
Most of us know Mr. Weston from the Biodiversity branch of our school’s Eco Club. We know him for his remarkable knowledge and passion on all things green. Another thing we might know him for is that he has been in the BSN for a very long time. He is the embodiment of the school’s history for the past decades. So naturally, to find out about the Bursary Fund’s origins, which dates back to 1983, an interview with Mr. Weston was in order.
In 1983 when a year 11 student had tragically lost her father before her crucial O Level exams, and her school fees had not been paid, something had to be done, a solution had to be found. In these difficult times, having to change schools and having her education jeopardized is the last thing a student should have to go through. One of the teachers, Cherry Laurance, decided to do something about it, and ‘passed a hat’ round the staffroom. The BSN staff made a substantial contribution towards paying the school fees. As Mr. Weston put it simply and so well: “I thought it was as it should be. We are all a family, and she was a kid here”.
This situation indicated there was a gap that needed to be filled in the system to prevent anything like that happening again in the future. The Bursary Fund was something that one of the Governors, Sheila Sivell, the Headmaster, Brian Davidson, members of staff like Pam Senior and Mike Weston, had discussed in the early days. The very first fundraising event was called “An Evening of Musical Entertainment with Mike, Pam and Barry”, the Senior School hall was converted into a nightclub for the evening on the 8th of July, 1983. About 5000 guilders (2300 euros) was raised that night. That is the story of the Bursary Fund.
Things could have turned out very differently, the staff was empathetic to one student’s very difficult situation, and took action to ensure that students and their families won’t be under more pressure when faced with unexpected hardships.
Today the Bursary Fund is an official charity registered in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce with a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. There is a committee made up of about 10 parents, teachers and ex-students. Simon Weinberg, Helen Kirkwood (nee Thwaites) and Karen Massaro (nee Hennessey) all went to the BSN many moons ago and want to make a difference to students’ lives, enabling them to finish school with fond memories and a secure future. Fundraisings are held regularly where parents and students volunteer their help and support. Every event is a reminder that we are a community, and if a student is in need of help, they are not alone.