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Devonshire Society

Devonshire Society

About

The Devonshire Society celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022.

The Society is Eastbourne College’s legacy club, and its members consist of those OEs and others who plan to leave a bequest to the College in their will. Legacies left to the College help fund bursaries, awards and scholarships, and in the past have also provided funds for capital projects.

If you tell us that you plan to make a bequest, and do not request anonymity, you will automatically become a member of the Society and will be invited every year with your spouse or partner to Foundation Day as a guest of the Headmaster. As well as the lunch, members attend a service in the College Chapel and are later entertained by College musicians. One part of the day that is greatly appreciated is the chance to hear from pupils who have received bursary funding, who talk about their experiences at the school and the opportunities they are grateful to have been given thanks to the generosity of donors.

The Society was founded in 2002 and the first reception for members was held at the College in September that year, when 25 OEs had pledged their support. A year later that number had more than doubled, and the then Foundation Director Forbes Wastie wrote In the 2003-04 Old Eastbournian annual report::

‘Within the Foundation the Devonshire Society has been inaugurated, having the blessing of Andrew Cavendish, the present Duke of Devonshire [the 11th Duke] and President of the College Council. Membership of the Society is for those who pledge to make the College a beneficiary of their estate, thereby avoiding inheritance tax. There are now 57 members of the Society.’

Over the years there have been more than 100 members, and the current number is over 80. The College is very grateful to all of them for their commitment to making a difference to the education of numerous young people who might otherwise not be able to attend the school.

2006 was a memorable year for the Society. The lunch at the College was held on 16 May and the special guests were the 12th Duke, together with the Duchess of Devonshire.

Later that year, on 5 October, thanks to the generosity of the Duke, 50 members of the Society visited the Cavendish family home at Chatsworth in Derbyshire. They were first treated to a champagne reception attended by the Duchess, during which Headmaster Simon Davies announced that the planned new music school would be known as the Birley Centre in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by former headmaster Michael Birley (1956-70), who was present with his wife Ann. Before lunch the guests enjoyed a performance of Borodin’s Second String Quartet by College pupils, and afterwards they had a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of Chatsworth House.

Five years later the Birley Centre was nearing completion and guests at Devonshire Society Day on 30 June 2011 had a chance to look round the building before its formal opening in October.

If you would like to make a pledge to leave a legacy in your will, please contact Development Director Emma Garrett on 01323 452308 or ecbgarrett@eastborne-college.co.uk. Alternatively you can write to Emma c/o the Foundation Office, Eastbourne College, Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JX.


Foundation Day 2022

Foundation Day was held on Saturday 11 June and we welcomed back members of the Devonshire Society and other major donors to the College.

Following a service in the College Chapel, guests enjoyed a champagne reception in the Warren Atrium where they were also entertained by current pupils with a variety of musical offerings.

A luncheon was then held in the Christopher Kirk-Greene function rooms where the guests were welcomed by Chairman of Governors Philip Broadley.

Later, three recent recipients of the Trevor Pescud Tennis Award, Daisy Barrow (Watt, Year 10), Bella Moen (Nugent 2019-21) and Eleanor Chapman (Blackwater 2016-18), spoke to the guests about their gratitude at having received bursary funding while at the College, and reflected on the opportunities a College education had given them.

The afternoon concluded with an opportunity to watch cricket on College Field on a beautiful summer's day.

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