After over 11 years, this is my last report in The Corinthian before I hand over the reins of the Presidency of the Roxburgh Society. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role leading the Society and leave because it is the right time, not because I have had enough! Over the past ten years, the Society has both grown in numbers and seen a huge amount of money bequeathed to Stowe by kind and supportive Old Stoics and Friends of Stowe.
I am so proud of the input the Roxburgh Society has had on supporting the charitable missions of both the School and The Stowe House Preservation Trust. We have seen a huge transformation of the Mansion House and donations through the Roxburgh Society have had a significant role in this work. I am also proud to see that Change 100 is already supporting twenty bursary places throughout the School and here too, legacies given by Roxburgh Society members have made a considerable impact. Since 2012, £4 million has been given or pledged by members to support the School. It is a huge achievement and whilst it is always sad to lose our Old Stoic friends, I am so grateful to everyone who has chosen to support Stowe in this way.
The Roxburgh Society can be rightly proud of the way it is helping Stowe achieve its ambitions and I am so pleased to have been closely involved over the past decade. But now is the time to pass on the baton and I am delighted to announce that Zair Berry (Chandos 72) (above) will be taking over the Presidency on 12 May 2023. What better time to pass on the role than on the first day of the School’s second century!
Zair, a former Head Boy, has been a Trustee of the Blue Cross (Animal Welfare) since 2003 and I am sure is well placed to put his knowledge and enthusiasm into leading the Roxburgh Society. I wish him well and I would be delighted if many of you who are reading this, take the opportunity of our Centenary year to consider leaving a bequest in your Will and joining the Roxburgh Society. It would be wonderful if Zair’s tenure started with a boost in our numbers, as we all think about the importance of Stowe and work towards ensuring it grows from strength to strength in its next century and beyond.
Our last lunch – held back in June 2022 – was special for me, as it was my last as President. I want to thank Anthony Shillington (Chatham 61) for his extremely kind words and also to all the Society for the generous and beautiful Pimm’s jug and tumblers etched with the Stowe South and North Fronts. They are a beautiful gift and one I shall enjoy for many summers to come (and possibly occasionally during the long winter evenings too!).
Our next Roxburgh Society Lunch will be held on Sunday 22 October 2023 and will, of course, be Zair’s first as President. As it is our Centenary year, we are also opening it up to non-members who are interested in learning about the Society and potentially considering leaving a gift in their Will to make them eligible for membership. You can book online here. Please do come and join us.