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The Stonar Way 24.11.23

Profile shot of Headmaster Matthew Way
  • Whole School

Matthew Way discusses how past Stonar fundraising is still making an impact today. 

Following the recent devastating earthquake in Afghanistan, I received an email from a Quentin Goggs. He wrote as follows:

My late son Timothy Goggs died in an accident in 1992 whilst clearing mines in Afghanistan for the HALO Trust.

Tim was awarded the George Medal for trying to rescue his colleague out of their tank that had caught fire. At that time my late wife, Henrietta, was working at Stonar as an Assistant Housemistress.

After Tim’s death, we set up a fund with Christian Aid to support projects in Afghanistan. Because of my wife’s connection with the school, they devoted the proceeds of their charitable fundraising in 1994 to Tim’s Fund with Christian Aid for work in Afghanistan. The amount raised was £7,000 and was spent acquiring land for an extension to the hospital in Herat.

Yesterday we heard news of the terrible earthquake just outside Herat and that the hospitals were all full with the resultant casualties. I thought the school might like to hear of the direct benefit their raising of £7,000 in 1994 was giving to the people of Herat today. I attach a copy of the photo I took of the commemorative plaque fixed into the wall of the hospital recording this gift. Stonar is not mentioned by name; but its donation was used solely for that purpose.

I subsequently invited Mr Goggs to speak in an Assembly, which he duly did this week. He expanded on his email in the Assembly, explaining that his son, Tim, had left a will asking that his money be left to Christian Aid for projects in Afghanistan. He went on to say:

We, his parents, set up a special fund with Christian Aid called Tim’s Fund, so that any money raised could be specially identified and used for projects as Tim wished. One of the largest cities in Afghanistan is called Herat. It lies in a fertile valley close to the border with Iran in the far west of the country. They were planning an extension to their main hospital, and the money raised by Stonar was used to buy the land for that extension.

You will also have read or been told about the dreadful earthquake that occurred there a few weeks ago. All the hospitals are full with casualties. So the money raised by your school Stonar is directly helping those suffering at this very moment. Congratulations and many, many thanks.

Just before Mr Goggs spoke, our Charity Committee presented four charity options from which the pupils will vote and choose our chosen charity to support this year. The charities were the Blue Cross, the Rainbow Trust, Cancer Research and Dorothy House Hospice. These charities themselves had been nominations from pupils.

On standing up to give his presentation, Mr Goggs said that he was very touched to hear about our charity options because they were close to his heart. He told us that his wife had died of cancer in 2015 and so he very much supported Cancer Research. Also, she had been cared for by and in Dorothy House Hospice and the Blue Cross has re-homed her horses. It was one of those unscripted, coincidental moments that was very moving and you could have heard a pin drop as he started his story about his son.

This was a wonderful lesson and reminder of the work many wonderful charities do and the importance of our support for them. 

Matthew Way