In light of what has been a tough 18 months, the Bradfield Society decided to host a ‘Telethon’, a two-week remote telephone campaign, aiming to reach out to the alumni community and reconnect with them, especially those with whom we have fallen out of regular contact.

This was the first large scale contact that the College had undertaken since 2007, so we were unsure how it would be received, however, once our callers began they enjoyed some wonderful conversations. All calls were made by recent leavers from 2019-21 so, with memories of Bradfield fresh in their minds, it was a great opportunity for them to share their experiences with older generations as well as discuss the wide range of opportunities to be involved in the Bradfield Society. Our 11 callers held 280 conversations and helped us to receive £29k in pledges.

“We are keen that all Bradfieldians have the opportunity to connect with Bradfield in a manner that suits them; whether that be attendance at social events or speaker nights, networking, philanthropy, offering careers advice or perusing the College archives”, said Alastair MacEwen, Director of The Bradfield Society and Development. “The telethon helped to give us a better idea of what Bradfieldians want. A special thank you to those who made a gift, your support is, as ever, much appreciated and helps us to secure a bright future for Bradfield and Bradfieldians. We hope to see many of you back at Bradfield this year.”

We followed up with callers and call recipients and asked them to share their Telethon experience.

IZZY BRAY (I 16-21)

I really enjoyed being a caller for the Telethon. I spoke with a variety of Old Bradfieldians and had many engaging conversations. More recent OBs offered advice for university and starting out in a career, very pertinent to me as a current university student, whilst older OBs shared memories of the school, contrasting their experience with mine. I came away with the impression that most people really valued their time at Bradfield and it made me feel proud to be a Bradfieldian.

The one thing that could have been improved was to have more girls on the call team. Whilst it was no issue being the only girl, I knew the others and we all got on well, it was just not very representative of Bradfield today. Being a caller was fun and if it was the fundraising aspect which put the girls off, it shouldn’t be an area of concern. The key requirement for a caller is to have an interest in people and the ability to engage them in conversation. Who doesn’t love having a chat?

‘The ask’ as it’s called flows from there and you are given training on how to manage this. You have an idea whether someone was likely to be interested in supporting within the first minute of the call, but there was no pressure. If someone wanted to make a gift that was brilliant and I thanked them profusely. If making a gift was not of interest, then I emphasized the many other ways that they could be involved with the College through the Bradfield Society. The most important thing was to have a positive experience and for alumni to enjoy their association with the College. I would be happy to chat with anyone considering being a caller for the next Telethon.


It was a great pleasure to speak to Izzy. I look back on my days at Bradfield very fondly so it’s nice to catch up with a recent alumna and I’m very pleased to help the Bright Futures Project.


I enjoyed chatting to Izzy and comparing notes about life at the College. A lovely way to reminisce and hear about upcoming projects. I would love to follow up with her now that the Telethon is over, with an offer of advice on writing a CV or preparing for an interview.


I thought Izzy did a great job on the call. She was enthusiastic and clear in what Bradfield is trying to achieve. It was a pleasure to talk briefly and I look forward to looking at the projects in detail.


I had many conversations over the two weeks, but there were two that stood out. The first was with Robert Wescott (B 91-96), who was a fellow bursary recipient. It was very inspiring to hear of his success as a jazz musician, even managing to play at the Royal Albert Hall as a school band. It was great to get his career perspective as someone who is also creative day-to-day. Mr Wescott and I also reflected on the fond memories of boarding, especially the weekend and the homely feel. It was a delightful conversation and one that exemplified the purpose of the Bradfield family. The second was with fellow former member of Army House with whom I had a humorous conversation about the rise of his call centre company and his journey out of Bradfield. We also spoke about the irony of me calling him, considering his business. Additionally, Mr Tillard offered me entrepreneurial mentorship and I fully intend to take up this opportunity.


My congratulations to Kwaku for a good call as I know a bit about what he was being asked to do and it is really tough!! Calling someone you don’t know takes guts. He took me into his world, he shared his recent experience of my old school, his aspirations for the future and he was very inspiring. I have offered to help him and also to support Bright Futures, thanking Bradfield for giving him the opportunity to flourish by way of a transformative bursary. My message to those who might be sceptical about receiving a Telethon call is simple, you won’t know what it’s like until you have accepted it and you might be surprised by what a positive experience it can be.



I was nervous about being a caller. Prior to training I even thought that I might drop out, however, I stuck with it and thank goodness I did because a couple of call shifts in I had an epiphany. I had the best conversation; the kindness, the interest in me and my future, the shared admiration of what Bradfield does for you, it was so special. The morale boost I received from every conversation made participating in the Telethon an amazing experience and made up for the times when it was difficult to get through to someone.

It gave me some great life skills. When you dial a number, you really don’t know what situation you are going to find at the other end of the phone. You jump into the unexpected and are forced to think on your feet, maintain your composure, use your judgement and find your opportunities. To be honest, after a full day of studying, it was not necessarily something I totally relished the thought of doing, but this is where the discipline that my Bradfield Tutor instilled in me came to the fore. Sometimes you just have to ‘keep on keeping on’. Bradfield helped me to deal with some tough times and whilst being paid for the Telethon was very much appreciated and clearly a motivation for being a caller, on top of that I wanted to give something back to the College as a thank you for all that it taught me. I would say that the key asset for being a caller is passion, a passion for Bradfield and if you have that then the conversations just flow.


I admit that when the letter about the Telethon came, close Bradfield friends and I had a certain amount of scepticism. We appreciate what Bradfield gave us, but we’ve not been regular ‘old boys’, our full lives have taken us elsewhere, nor have we always kept up to date with the news or attended events. I questioned what I could offer to someone who had recently left the College, but naturally answered Clem’s call. I much enjoy talking with people, learning about their lives and Clem was fun to talk to. I was happy to hear the latest news about Bradfield and to share stories. That I am not able to donate didn’t sour our chat and indeed it was not necessarily the purpose and we agreed to keep in touch. I felt the call gave me a good connection with the College and I gladly endorse this initiative.


I was delighted to speak with Clement and was touched by his separate thank-you note. He is a credit to the school and will, I’m sure, make a huge success of his university course in spite of the disruptions to the final terms of his Bradfield education. It is certainly apparent to me that, however the school may have changed physically over the last 50 years, its ethos has remained robustly focused on ensuring that its pupils have a broad and tolerant view of the world beyond their own academic focus. I will continue to keep track of the school’s progress through the website and various communications that I am delighted to receive regularly.

A massive thank you to all who participated both callers and call recipients. We are planning the next Telethon for Summer 2023, if you would like to receive a call or be one of the callers do get in touch. Contact the development team on or call 0118 964 4840.