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News > Alumni News > Generous donation in Jen's memory helps create new Diamond Fund

Generous donation in Jen's memory helps create new Diamond Fund

10 May 2022
Alumni News

A DIAMOND Fund to provide a discretionary source of financial support to families in need has been created thanks to a £45,000 donation from the Goodacre Benevolent Fund.

The money has been generously pledged by Michael Hutt in memory of his late wife Jeanette (Jen), a much respected and admired teacher who joined Dame Allan’s in 1981 and was instrumental in the creation of the Schools’ politics department.

It will act as seed funding for the newly created Diamond Fund and used to match, pound-for-pound, all future donations added to the pot, allowing for up to £90,000 worth of financial support for fee-paying parents who find themselves in times of hardship.

Michael, whose two children with Jen – Frances and James – both attended Dame Allan’s Schools, pledged a total of £50,000 through the charitable Goodacre Benevolent Fund, with £5,000 used for two school prizes [1], including the Jen Hutt Debating Prize.

He said: “Education was so very important to Jen; it gave her the opportunity to explore the world before settling at Dame Allan’s in a job she was extremely passionate about. Giving this money to the Schools where she dedicated more than 20 years of her career is just as Jen would have wanted.”

Jen grew up in South Africa and, after graduating from high school as the highest-ranking academic student in her year, studied at the University of Natal. Following a period of teaching in Durban, she travelled to Europe, arriving in England in 1970. She and Michael married in 1973 and they moved to Newcastle in 1981, when she took a position at Dame Allan’s as temporary cover in the Boys’ School.

She remained here for the rest of her teaching career and, thanks to her wide-ranging university degree, taught a number of subjects including Latin, English and History. It was Politics, however, that was Jen’s passion and she introduced the subject at A Level, starting with a small intake of pupils and growing class sizes as the subject became more popular.

Today’s Head of Politics, Robert Oliver, was taught by Jen at Dame Allan’s in the 1980’s and took over from her as politics teacher when she retired in 2003. He said Jen made a lasting impression on the Schools.

“She was a hardworking teacher who was hugely respected, both among pupils and in the staffroom. She never put up with any nonsense and demanded that pupils worked hard, but was also kind and generous, earning the nickname Auntie Jen,” he said.

“She had a strong personality and was a big presence at Dame Allan’s; an inspiring woman who cared deeply for the Schools and was very enthusiastic in her job. It is fitting that this donation in her memory will help support families and allow pupils to continue to thrive in education.” 

The Diamond Fund has been created, in the wake of the global pandemic, to provide short and medium-term hardship funding, through bursaries, to existing fee-paying parents. The financial support will be given with a no-obligation option to repay some or all of the amount back into the pot at a later date, to support others going forward.

Menisha Gela, Dame Allan’s Schools’ Director of Development, said “This generous contribution has enabled the launch of a critical fund that will support a significant number of families in times of greatest need.

“The impact of Covid-19 has presented the Schools with considerable challenges over the past two years, yet throughout that time the Governors and staff have been fully committed to ensuring stability for all pupils, with support for families that were severely affected financially by the pandemic,” she said.

Principal of Dame Allan’s Schools, Will Scott, said:

“The creation of the Diamond Fund recognises that hard times such as ill health and other unforeseen life events can affect any one of us at any time. At Dame Allan’s we are a family, so the provision of hardship funding to those in greatest need is very important to us and we are calling on Alumni and Friends of the Schools to help raise money, which will be matched with the funds kindly donated by The Goodacre Benevolent Fund.”

For more information about the fund and its criteria please contact the Bursar on va.mcdonald@dameallans.co.uk

To donate, simply click here.

 

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