Annual Foundation Appeal

In 1815 the first Annual Foundation Appeal was made to the City to fund the London Orphan Asylum (the original name of Reed’s School) and aroused the interest of the Royal Family and the Duke of Wellington, amongst others. Under the auspices of an Annual Appeal President, fundraising dinners were held and eminent guest speakers, such as Charles Dickens, heard.

Past Appeal Presidents have included: The Duke of Wellington, the Duke of Devonshire, Timothy Guinness, Lionel de Rothschild and several Royal Highnesses, The Princes of Wales (HM King Edward VII, HM King George V and HM King George VI).  The Appeal has been held every year since, making it one of the oldest appeals of its kind in the country.




High Res VBThis year’s Foundation Appeal President, Rt Hon Baroness Virginia Bottomley has been a Surrey resident for several decades.  Formerly the MP for Farnham, Haselmere and Godalming, she was a Minister in John Major and Margaret Thatcher’s governments.  Her ministerial career included time as an Environment Minister and then the Cabinet Minister for Health. Subsequently, she moved to Culture, Media and Sport.  She joined the Lords in 2005. Virginia was a Lay Canon at Guildford Cathedral from 2002-2010.  She became a Deputy Lieutenant in Surrey in 2006.  Virginia is a Freeman of the City of London. 

During her early years, Virginia worked as a researcher and author for the Child Poverty Action Group as well as in Child Guidance Services in Brixton and Peckham.  She was Chairman of the Lambeth Juvenile Court at the time of the Brixton Riots in 1981.  Consequently, she has a thorough and professional knowledge of issues concerned with disadvantage, deprivation and lack of education opportunities.  Virginia has long worked for increased opportunity, particularly for those from disadvantaged groups.  Consequently, she is honoured to become President of the Appeal. She has long had a special commitment to education. She served as a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Surrey for ten years. Virginia has been Chancellor of the University of Hull for the last 16 years. She is a Trustee of the Economist Newspaper.

Professionally, Virginia is a Director at Odgers Berndtson, the UK’s leading executive search firm. She has been a Non-executive Director for AkzoNobel, Bupa and Smith & Nephew. 

Following her first degree, Virginia gained an MSc in Social Administration from the London School of Economics where she is now an Emeritus Governor.  Virginia has honorary degrees from the University of Surrey, the University of Portsmouth and Aston University.




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