The roots of Abberley Hall School go back to 1878 when it was established as a Dame School in Kent. It moved to Worcestershire to escape the Zeppelin raids in 1916 and took over the fine Victorian country house which has been its home ever since. Almost one hundred years later the school is flourishing due to the promotion of excellence and good governance – and its ability in the past to sell off peripheral assets.
Abberley has no endowment and is now dependent upon school fees to fund its operation. It is clear that, while the business runs very well, the school’s future requirements will make difficult demands upon its existing resources. The Abberley Hall Foundation has been formed to address this problem by fundraising to support a number of charitable objectives:
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Abberley Hall Foundation was set up in 2001 under the chairmanship of Gilbert Rodway. He was succeeded in 2007 by Guy Ashton, the grand-nephew of Gilbert Ashton who was Headmaster for forty years until 1961. Guy has handed over to Rhoddy Swire who is the current incumbent.
Gilbert Rodway QC (Chairman 2001-7)
Guy Ashton (Chairman 2007-8)
Peter Bowring CBE
The Rt Hon The Lord Howe QC
Sir Jerry Wiggin
RHODDY SWIRE (OA 64), boring accountant, has worked with the family in the Far East and in the private equity world for most of his life. Father-in-law, self and son have all passed through Abberley Hall and he firmly believes that the combination of wonderful education in fabulous surroundings needs to be nurtured for future generations.
RICHARD AMPHLETT (OA 79) is a regular face at Abberley Hall with his two sons, George and Patrick. He is also a Trustee of Bitterley Grammar School and a Governor of Bitterley School. His initial career was in marketing working for Omnicom and Guinness and founding city-based marketing consultancy, YesCity. Now, he is a Director of TLO Insurance Services. His interests include country sports, skiing, sailing in Cornwall and Longbow Archery.
MAX ASKEW (OA 83) studied Landscape Architecture before setting up his own practice, Askew Nelson, in 2007. Much of his work involves the conservation and restoration of historic landscapes, and new development within the historic environment. His interests include conservation in all guises, outdoor life, vintage cars and cricket.
BEN BRABYN (OA 85) has an abiding enthusiasm for making charities in general, and fundraising in particular, more efficient. In his capacity as Founder and CEO of the web-based Bmycharity he brings much relevant knowledge to The Abberley Hall Foundation together with the experience gained first with the Royal Marines and then as an investment banker in the City.
MICHAEL HAGGARD (OA 49) has been an active member of the School community for longer than most. After serving with the 7th Hussars he arrived at Abberley as a teacher and stayed for seven years. He left to take up his first headship at Eagle House, but returned as Headmaster in 1974 with his wife, Mary, and sons Tim (OA 79) and Andrew (OA 81). In 1996 he retired, but became the Hon Sec of the OA Association, a position he still holds.
RUPERT KENYON-SLANEY (OA 78) has spent 20 years in the City working in investment banking, and is currently a Director of Barclays Wealth. A farmer, as well as a history of architecture graduate from the University of East Anglia, he has a particular interest in the restoration of historic houses and their landscapes.
MATTHEW KIRKBRIDE (OA 69) is currently a director of Smith and Williamson Investment Management in Birmingham, and was previously with Gerrard Investment Management. A History of Art graduate, he has served on the Board of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust and is father to Adam (OA 2005) and Robbie (OA 2007).
JO ROCHE taught science and maths at a local Middle School and is a former parent and governor of Abberley Hall. She has developed an interest in family and local history and now takes commissions for research into the history of schools in the vicinity. 'Abberley Hall and the Clock Tower' is one such publication.
JAMIE STEWART (OA 63), a law graduate, has worked in investment banking since 1986, specialising in global equities. Beforehand, he taught both at Abberley and abroad, and has worked for The British Institute (Florence) and for The National Trust for Scotland (Edinburgh). He holds, and has held, a number of directorships in companies such as Baring Securities, Morgan Grenfell International and Inverlat International.
ANGUS TAVERNER (OA 70) is a director of his own company specialising in international relations, political risk and strategic communications, and also of the Dubai-based ‘think tank’, DCRMC. Previously he was a Regular Army officer and remains in the TA currently serving as Deputy Commander of 51 (Scottish) Brigade. He holds a Masters in Public Relations and Strategic Communications (2005) from the University of the Arts, London completing a dissertation on 'Terrorists' Use of Public Relations '.
VERNON TAYLOR (OA 78) is also on the Board of Governors at Abberley Hall School and has two children currently attending. He has spent 24 years working in the insurance industry including 12 years in the City before founding TLO Insurance Services Ltd with Richard Amphlett. In his spare time he enjoys racing, cricket and country sports.
CHARLES WHITWORTH joined the staff at Abberley in September 2005 and is now Assistant Headmaster (Academic). Before 2005, he worked in the City with bankers James Capel, Jardine Fleming and ABN AMRO. He has a young family and his interests include books, theatre, cricket, hockey and anything to do with mountains.
FIONA PATERSON is also Clerk to the Governors and an Administrative Assistant at Abberley Hall. She has worked at English National Opera and the South Bank and as an arts sponsorship consultant. She has done voluntary and charity work while following the flag with a husband in the Armed Forces and is a Trustee for Herefordshire Growing Point.