Henry Smith Club Dinner 2019
Sir Peter Gershon (RGS 1658-1965), Henry Smith Club President, hosted the Annual Henry Smith Club Dinner on Thursday 16 May. Members were treated to delicious meal of t-bone steak at the award winning M Restaurant, Victoria, with our special guest and keynote speaker Andrew Cooper, Baron Cooper of Windrush (RGS 1973-1982).
Lord Cooper is the co-founder of the research and strategy consultancy Populus Ltd and between March 2011 to October 2013 worked as Director of Strategy in the Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, for then Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Lord Cooper gave an entertaining and informative after-dinner speech about his work and opinions on the current political climate, Brexit and what might possibly happen in the near future. As well as this, he shared about his beginnings at Reigate Grammar School, how he was fortunate to have an assisted place, which allowed him to attend the school.
“No one in my family had been to grammar school before, and no one in my family had been to university. I was the penultimate year of the 11+ entry at Reigate Grammar School… it was only because the fees were covered at that stage that I was able to stay, my parents could not have afforded to pay and, therefore, I strongly support the idea, purpose and achievements of the Henry Smith Club and the Changing Lives Campaign.”
The Henry Smith Club is a very special group. Established five years ago, the club is a key driver of our important social mobility work. Currently, through their collective support, Henry Smith Club members are sponsoring eleven children at RGS who would otherwise not be able to attend.
One of the highlights of the evening came from Cindy, a foster mother of a child currently supported by Henry Smith Club members. Cindy spoke of her heartfelt gratitude, the life-changing journey they have been on at RGS and the wonderful opportunities made available to her foster son.
“Although I am not his biological mum, I am the person fulfilling that role, and am incredibly grateful to you for giving him so many positive opportunities and experiences and providing him with the tools to reach his full potential.”
“Connor’s thirst for knowledge is relentless. I knew that I had a duty to find him the best education, sports and music opportunities I could. I had a responsibility to find him the best place for his secondary education. Somewhere that could nurture his enthusiasm for knowledge and encourage his desire to achieve.”
“I was blown away at how open and welcoming the grammar were. They offered him a place and told me there were people out there who could offer funding. I couldn’t tell you how humbled we both were. I knew he was in the best hands that a parent could want for their child, thanks to you.”
“I can’t ever thank you enough for all you do for us and the amazing children you support. Connor is showing other children in care that they can achieve high and be the best they can. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our story, and for your ongoing generosity.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Henry Smith Club, contact the RGS Foundation or read more here on our website. The next dinner will be held on 21 May 2020.