I have now been in my new role as Director of Development for just over a year. I have the great privilege of working with some wonderful people; Ben Collins, Helen Seabridge, Maria Gallego-Calderon, Katy de la Riviere (outside of her Archivist role), Emily Rowe Rawlence, and David Calvert. Together we make up the Development Team.

Our remit is broad and you may not realise all that goes on in the Old Squash Court that is now home to our happy band.

We organise events, that much is pretty clear. Nowadays most events are sell outs, and combined with the increase in the number of functions this year, we have entertained and engaged with double the number of people that we did the previous year.

Not everyone is able to travel to events. We therefore go out to visit those who, because of infirmity or otherwise, cannot join us. It is important to us that such people are not forgotten or are left isolated.

We continually search for ‘lost’ OS. Our new recruit, Emily Rowe Rawlence, is tasked with finding lost souls. So far, since January, she has found 300 or so Old Sedberghians.

We have also reached out to Old Casteronians. Many of us remember our friendships with Castertonians or had sisters there. We are trying to help them reform their own association because we know their heritage and friendships are as important to them as they are to us. So far 250 Old Castertonians have signed up to this phoenix association.

Friendships aside, we aim to help the young. We now have a program in place where we invite people to share their career experiences with pupils. This is either through a formally recorded interview or in person. We are building up a bank of insights which dovetails with ‘Sedbergh Connect’, an online portal hosted by the OS Club to put Sedberghians and Old Sedberghians in touch with those who can assist with their careers.

An essential part of helping the young is raising funds for Roger Lupton Scholarships. Such scholarships are 100% funded by the Sedbergh Community. Presently we have 12 full time scholars, 12 individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds whose lives have been changed by the generosity of our readers.

Raising funds is not limited to Scholarships. The campaign to raise funds for the Tech Centre has been a success. The Appeal isn’t closed yet but the response has been overwhelming. Around the School we also support smaller projects, such that the pupils can enjoy the benefits of modern teaching aids and equipment.

Ben and I, as Old Sedberghians, remember our time at Sedbergh with great fondness. We believe in the School and therefore we facilitate the decision process that OS go through when they are considering Sedbergh as an option for their children by entertaining their families for a weekend.

In fact, there is so much that happens in our office that I can only touch on a few things here. The reason for doing so is this; after my first year to say thank you to my team, thank you for all your support, hard work, loyalty, and devotion to duty. I am grateful for all that you do. The Sedbergh Community is most fortunate to have you.

Jan van der Velde

Director of Development