Dr Graham’s Homes Kalimpong (UK), also known as DGHUK, is a registered charitable company, with a Board of Trustees (Directors) and a core staff team. Together, we look after the day-to-day running of the charity, oversee its wider strategy, uphold its values, and hold fast to our vision for protecting and supporting the Homes. The charity was originally a ‘committee’ drawn together by John Graham soon after the Homes were opened. He also founded committees in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Down the years, through these and other committees, countless children have benefitted from the generosity of supporters throughout the world.
The work of DGHUK
DGHUK is independent of the school itself, which is governed by a Board of Management (BOM) in India. DGHUK and the BOM share many of the same goals for the school’s present and future flourishing. As a charity, our central focus is on supporting the Homes as they provide education and care for children in need. We also support the children as they leave the Homes and transition into higher education or training.
Scottish Episcopal ChurchPrimus
Rev John WebsterHonorary Vice President
In December 1964, I arrived in Kalimpong, India, together with my wife Jennifer and two very young sons. As a minister in the Church of Scotland with a BSc in Agriculture, I had been invited to become Chaplain and Farm Manager of Dr Graham’s Homes. Eight wonderful, challenging and fulfilling years followed. The children there were delightful, and the Nepali farm workers dedicated. Since returning in 1973, I haven't forgotten either. Since then, I have spent the past 40 years or so serving on the Dr Graham’s Homes UK Committee in various capacities. I have also devoted much of my time to fundraising in support of the Homes.
Board of Trustees
A Board of Trustee Directors governs Dr Graham’s Homes Kalimpong (UK) and is responsible for our charity’s goals and strategy. It has a single purpose, which is to provide support for needy children, by providing for their education at Dr Graham’s Homes in Kalimpong, north-east India. It does this by administering a very personal sponsorship scheme and by raising funds to improve educational opportunities for the sponsored children at the school.
James ('Jim') N GibsonChair
I am a retired Chartered Accountant specialising in charities, with practical experience in charity governance, accounting, stewardship and strategic management. I was introduced to Dr Graham’s Homes by my wife, Maida, who has sponsored children at the Homes for over 40 years. I served as Treasurer of DGHUK between 2012 and 2023, a role which I handed over to the new Treasurer when I was appointed Chairman in that year. I also served on the Governance Working Group, which managed the charity’s transition to a company limited by guarantee. I have visited the Homes on three occasions. In my spare time, I enjoy hillwalking, learning other languages and travelling.
Matthew PearsVice Chair
Ensuring the ongoing vision and work of Dr Graham’s Homes lies at the heart of my family history and it's something I’m proud to continue. My grandfather, George McCabe, was Farm Estate Manager at DGH in the 1950s and my mother and uncle were both born there.
I made my first trip to India nearly 20 years ago and fell in love with the people and the place and have visited many times since.
Professionally I specialise in Communications and Marketing. I received my MA in English Language from Edinburgh University ahead of gaining accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I now sit on the board of SkyParlour, a global Fintech communications agency.
I have been interested in Dr Graham’s Homes for about 25 years. My initial contact was through our Guild (Church of Scotland in Dundee), which has supported the Homes since its inception. Now retired from working as a doctor, I was able to visit the Homes in 2017 with my husband John as part of a trip to Kolkata, Kathmandu and Kalimpong (The 3Ks Tour). I was very impressed with what I saw and returned to Kalimpong over the following two years. I became a trustee in 2018 and am keen to do whatever I can to support the work and ethos of the Homes.
In May 2023, I accepted an invitation to join the board of Dr Graham’s Homes as Treasurer. As a chartered accountant recently retired from private practice and with many years of experience working with charities and not-for-profit organisations, I believe I have the skills required to serve our charity in this role.
Although not aware of DGHUK before being approached, my attendance at this year’s AGM confirmed the good work of which I had read and heard. Unlike many of the trustees, I have not yet had the privilege of visiting Kalimpong - something I would hope to rectify in the near future in order to deepen my understanding of the charity’s work.
Ian RussellSponsorship Secretary
As a trustee of DGHUK, I bring to my role considerable experience of working within the not-for-profit sector, both through my time as Operations Manager of a large charity for homeless and vulnerable people, as well as several years spent chairing a charity supporting Christian artists in the UK. My career, within education and through other roles, has involved developing policies and ensuring compliance with Health and Safety guidelines, Human Resources legislation and Charity law. I have also volunteered for, and been on the managing committees of, a variety of Christian community support groups, maintaining direct involvement with some of these to this day. (See below for my bio.)
My first visit to the Homes was in 2006 and I was immediately hooked. The joy, energy and enthusiasm of all those young voices praising God at morning worship in the chapel made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end; unforgettable. I have been back another five times since then and am never disappointed. I became involved in sponsoring and fundraising for DGH in 2007. Since then I’ve completed four cycling challenges in India, a solo Lands’ End to John O'Groats cycle trip and several local church sales. I was elected a trustee in 2017 and was privileged to chair the Governance Group from its inception in 2019.
I first heard about Dr Graham’s Homes after former DGH staff member John Webster became my minister here in Troon in 1973. Since then I have been, and still am, a supporter, awareness-raiser, sponsor, fundraiser, and very frequent visitor to the Homes (through the 3Ks tours). Since 2008, I have also served as a member and Vice Chair of the UK Committee. At present I am a member of two sub-groups of the Committee, have much pleasure in supporting two pupils at the Homes and, COVID-permitting, enjoy organising fundraising events with my local supporters’ group, Troon Friends of Kalimpong. I have also made many good friends through DGH.
I first visited India and Doctor Graham’s Homes in 2006 and was totally captivated by the children in Kalimpong. I joined the UK Committee the following year. My roles at the charity have ranged from Committee Secretary to Chairman. At present I am the Safeguarding Trustee. I sponsored a boy at the Homes for 12 years and now support a student who started at the Homes as a one-year-old. She is a delightful correspondent. Through Dr Graham’s Homes, I have met some very interesting people, both here in the UK and in India.
I was introduced to Dr Graham’s Homes on my first 3Ks Tour in 2007, led by former staff member Rev John Webster. On my return home to the Isle of Arran, I became involved with our local supporters’ group, Arran Friends of Kalimpong, which helps to raise funds for the Homes. Since 2007 I have returned to Kalimpong a further five times, the last visit being in 2019, so it's safe to say I have been captivated by the whole ethos of the Homes. From these visits my involvement has grown, and I am now on the UK committee for Dr Graham’s Homes.
I am the great, great grandson of Dr Graham, and became a trustee of the charity in late 2021. I am based in London and work for a major tech company. I have previously worked in the civil service on trade issues and spent six months working at the High Commission in Sri Lanka. More recently I have worked in the City for financial services firms. I am lucky enough to have visited Kalimpong twice - once for the centenary anniversary in 2000, and more recently in 2015. As a trustee, I will support the work of the Homes to provide for children in need.
Esther Anne Pears
Dr Graham's Homes was my first home and has been integral to me and my family, for my whole life. My father, George McCabe, was the farm estate manager of Dr Graham’s Homes in the 1950s. My elder brother, Alistair, was born in Kalimpong and I was born in Darjeeling. I have recently retired from a wonderful career in nursing; caring for people in need has always been at the core of my life's work. As a trustee, I enjoy working with colleagues with a shared heart and vision for Dr Graham’s Homes.
I believe I am the only ex-pupil (“OGB”) and Anglo-Indian serving on the DGHUK Committee. I had the wonderful experience and privilege to pass through the Homes myself. I was admitted at the age of five and lived there from 1950 until 1962. I was 21 when I first sponsored a child from the Homes. I am happy to say that I continue to do so. My heart is in the Homes and as such I will do whatever I can to support the needy, deprived Anglo-Indian children at this Christian school.
After an initial career as a senior teacher of Physical Education, Pat joined the lecturing staff at Jordanhill College of Education, Glasgow. After a break to have her family, Pat then qualified in Special Educational Needs, thereafter spending over 20 years at East Park Home School in Glasgow. As a DGH Trustee, she has visited the Homes well over a dozen times, and from living and working on campus for several months, is well-known to teaching and cottage staff who value her support. She has sponsored a number of college students over the years, and remains in touch with many who have long-since left the Homes.
James TF Simpson
A chartered civil engineer, Jim’s first visit to The Homes in 2008 led to his appointment as DGHUK’s Sponsorship Secretary. He continued in that role until 2018, during which time he also spent four years as both UK Chairman and Sponsorship Member of the Kolkata Board. He provided on-the-spot structural engineering advice to the Homes throughout the 2011 earthquake. His family has had a long-standing, albeit dormant, connection with the Homes since its very foundation. Over recent years, Jim is grateful to have had the opportunity to translate that connection into practical support for the charity.
Ian and Anji RussellJoint Sponsorship Secretaries
I have always worked within the sphere of education, firstly as a teacher and then as a headteacher in the UK, China and South Korea. I currently work part time as a school inspector. Helping to improve the lives of young children has always been an important part of my work. I have been Joint Sponsorship Secretary of DGHUK with Ian since May 2020. Our shared value of caring for those in need is a very important aspect for us both in this role. Our work with Dr Graham’s Homes enables us to care for the children at the school, the students in further education or training, as well as the supporters.
After a lifetime in education, latterly as a primary headteacher, I retired early in 2006 and took up a post with Anji, as principal in an international school in China. Upon our return from Asia, I changed careers and became Operations Manager, first of a charity, then of our daughter’s business in Surrey. Another career change has found us working together as Joint Sponsorship Secretaries for Dr Graham’s Homes. It has been a challenging yet rewarding journey so far, and I particularly enjoy my key role in working with, and closely supporting, our sponsored students while they attend higher education.
- Joint Independent Review Committee This committee includes members of the UK Board of Trustees, the Board of Management in India, and GO, the global alumni association.