King’s alumni team was delighted to work in collaboration with former pupil Alan Vallance (OKS 1983), to organise an outstanding alumni event on November 15.
Alan, CEO of the Royal Institute of British Architects, (RIBA) kindly offered the school use of the institute’s magnificent Florence Hall, located within their beautiful art deco headquarters in central London, to host an alumni get-together.
The Florence Hall, RIBA’s principal entertaining space, is accessed via a grand triple-height staircase and features floor-to-ceiling windows, unusual etched glass doors and carved stone walls.
Over 100 alumni gathered for a truly memorable evening, which included speeches from two of King’s highest profile alumni – founder of Money Saving Expert and consumer champion, Martin Lewis OBE (OKS 1990) and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock (OKS 1995.)
Set against the backdrop of another tumultuous day of Brexit negotiations, there was some un-certainty about whether Matt would be able to attend so fellow guests were delighted when he arrived.
Despite having had little time to prepare, he gave a stirring speech about why he had felt it important to honour his commitment to speak at the event.
He said, “I’m here because this is what matters, that we ourselves appreciate and are grateful to that which gave us the education and the background to do what we do now. Communities are built on people paying back to the institutions and communities that supported them, without any sense of something in return and not due to a formal contract, but to a sense of social obligation.
I’m here because I believe deeply in the value that King’s Chester brings to the boys and now girls that it educates, and what it can do to ensure that children get the very best start in life. I care deeply about that and I want to help in every way that I can.”
Martin Lewis then took to the lectern and delivered a passionate address about various topics close to his heart. These included the importance of financial education for school-aged children, in-particular enabling them to distinguish between good debt and bad debt, and the inter-relationship between mental health and money.
Headmaster George Hartley closed the evening by outlining his strategic vision for the school over the next 10 years and presenting this year’s three alumni Leading Light Awards
The awards were presented to Matt Hancock, Martin Lewis and consultant paediatrician, Ravi Jayaram (OKS 1985) for their outstanding achievements within their professional fields and their continued links to the school.
The evening provided plenty of opportunity for alumni to catch-up with former teachers, and each other.
Given the success of the event Head of Development, Liz Gwyther confirmed the school’s commitment to make a get-together in London an annual event and will provide details of next years’ venue in due course.