Greeker Saved: A Fundraising Legacy
The ‘Save Greeker’ appeal was the widest reaching fundraising campaign appeal that the College has ever led. The result of the appeal to renovate the Greek Theatre ensured that former Headmaster and Warden Dr Herbert Gray’s legacy continues to be appreciated by current and future generations of Bradfieldians. Spearheading that project was Trefor Llewellyn, the College Bursar from 2007 to 2014 and here he discusses how fundraising has played an integral role in the transformation of Bradfield and why he chose to leave a Legacy to the College.
Trefor recently returned to Bradfield to attend the 1850 Society Annual Gathering, which centred on this year’s Greek Play and the Greek Theatre. “Alcestis this year was a wonderful experience, as were Antigone and Persae. Seeing Greeker being used for what it was intended is really something”.
During a short presentation given to the members of the Society, Trefor detailed the poor condition the theatre had been in when he arrived. A place which had been the dramatic heartbeat of the College since the late 1800s was reduced to crumbling concrete steps and surveys showed the vast wooden pillars which fronted the grand temple building, were completely rotten at the base.
It was in a terrible state. Nothing fundamentally had been done to the structure since it was built. The aesthetics had been enhanced and cleaned so it looked presentable for annual plays and Commemoration, but structurally it had deteriorated.
Shortly after his arrival at the College he was forced to recommend the decision to shut the theatre down.
“We had no choice but to close it and thankfully the Council were very supportive of the recommendation that I had to make to them. The focus was very much at that point not just to close it, but to think about how we could go about restoring and reopening it.”
Trefor arrived during a transformative time for Bradfield as it began its journey to becoming a leading coeducational boarding school. The target was to raise pupil numbers from 650 to 800 and the campus had to be updated to facilitate this transformation. One of the initial problems that the former Bursar, the College and Council faced in their bid to save Greeker was that this was but one of a large number of projects on the College’s ‘to do’ list.
The College’s priority at that time lay in funding projects essential to the growth of the academic and pastoral offering including renovation of the Science, Languages and History Departments, extension boarding houses and increasing the capacity of Faulkner’s.
“The College did not/does not have significant endowment and it was therefore imperative to fundraise for projects, like the renovation of the Greek Theatre, which enriched the lives of the pupils beyond their academic education. The fundraising was managed by The Development Office, in coordination with The Bradfield Foundation and without their support we would not have been able to do a number of these projects and some would have taken many more years to materialise.”
The ‘Save Greeker’ appeal succeeded in attracting 600 pledges, achieving the £1.3 million target set by Council prior to agreeing to commissioning the Greeker restoration project. The funds raised largely came from Old Bradfieldians,
“The pledges were made by OBs who remembered their time in Greeker, thought it was an important part of their education and wanted to make sure it was not lost for future generations of Bradfield pupils.”
Fundraising secured the legacy of Greeker for the College. Although no Legacies formed the donations made to the ‘Save Greeker’ campaign, if it so happens that funds from a Legacy are available at the time of a project being commissioned, these can act as the basis for a decision being made to proceed or not, and in this knowledge Trefor has become a member of the 1850 Society.
“I worked with some incredibly conscientious and good sets of governors, a succession of outstanding Headmasters and staff, both teaching and support, who really cared about what they were doing.
Bradfield has transformed itself into a leading coeducational boarding school and I want that to continue. A small way to achieve that it to leave my own legacy to ensure success for future generations.
The 1850 Society was established to provide a focus for those who, through, their kindness and generosity, have chosen to remember Bradfield College in their Will. Importantly, it also allows the College to recognise that and say thank you. Trefor is in no doubt that legacies contribute to ensuring the longevity of a thriving school.
“If you have enjoyed and benefited from your time here as I have. If you have seen the College going from strength the strength as a result of previous fundraising. If you want to see Bradfield continue to be a preeminent coeducational boarding school, then one of the ways to do it is through a legacy which will be well used in the future.”