Royal Latin pupils raise £20k with help from Buckingham business boss

Old boy and company chairman makes students a match-funding offer they can't refuse.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 3:04 pm
Bernard Garbe, chairman of Vitalograph, centre left, with headteacher David Hudson, centre right, and Royal Latin School students before coronavirus restrictions

Students at the Royal Latin School have raised £20,000 towards the school's ongoing Sports Campus project, thanks to help from former pupil and chairman of local company Vitalograph, Bernard Garbe.

Pupils have hit a £10,000 fundraising challenge set by Bernard, after he generously offered to boost their efforts with a £10,000 match-funding pledge meaning they have now raised £20,000 so far.

The timing could not be better, as the school has just launched a five-month urgent fundraising appeal in a bid to see its Sports Campus project completed by July.

Vitalograph chairman Bernard Garbe, left, with Royal Latin School headteacher David Hudson before coronavirus restrictions

With 18 weeks left and £165,000 left to raise, the students are continuing to fundraise and are hoping other local companies may also be inspired to match-fund their efforts.

Maids Moreton-based Vitalograph, a leading manufacturer of cardio-respiratory medical products, will have its contribution to the school recognised in a plaque inside the Sports Campus building alongside other major contributors.

Bernard Garbe said: "Supporting our community has been something Vitalograph has done for over 50 years.

"Having the opportunity to support a local state school is special.

"The RLS is building facilities for students and the wider community whilst creating a blueprint that other state schools could follow.

"Vitalograph is proud to support the Sports Campus project and inspire the students to use our donation to act in such as entrepreneurial way.

"We would encourage other local businesses to consider taking up their offer to be their second fundraising match-funder."

Students have worked incredibly hard to fundraise, despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hitting their £10,000 target through a combination of sponsored virtual sporting challenges, selling virtual squares of the 3G pitch and launching a virtual raffle.

Spurred on by Bernard's support, the students are now looking for another match-funding supporter as they aim to raise another £10,000 by July.

Sixth former Emma Wickham said: “Last year, we were lucky to be visited by Mr Garbe, to listen to our fundraising plans and to offer his own entrepreneurial guidance and experiences as an Old Latin and a successful businessman.

“We were really excited when he offered to match what we raised and it helped to motivate us over a difficult year.

"We aren't ready to stop, and now want to raise another £10,000, and we would love another supporter like Mr Garbe.”

The money raised will go toward the four-year fundraising programme to create a world-class high-tech Sports Campus on the school site that will be open to students, and to the wider community out of school hours - including a fitness suite, a large studio for dance/yoga and community lectures, and a sports tech laboratory.

Headteacher David Hudson said: “The Sports Campus is such an important new asset for us to help build health and resilience and to champion sporting excellence in both our students, our local partner-schools, and the wider community.

“The Sports Campus is designed with the long-term future careers of our pupils in mind and harnesses the latest technology to inspire and excite everyone that getting fit and healthy is for them.

"We have five months left to complete our fundraising so we can open in 2021.

"Government funding hasn't been available so we’re doing everything we can ourselves, and our students have been amazing.

"It’s brilliant that local businesses are supporting our pupils to excel and make a tangible and long-lasting impact to the local community.”

Anyone interested in becoming the next RLS Student Match-Funder, or in finding out more about other corporate opportunities to support the fundraising, can visit or email fundraising and events manager, Louise Amodio at [email protected]