Meet sponsors Andrew and Caroline
Andrew and Caroline have been sponsoring children at Dr Graham's Homes for many years. They also have an amazing connection to John Graham himself...
What drew you to getting involved in Dr Graham's Homes?
"Because of Andrew’s past family links with Dr Graham (see below), we wanted to become sponsors about 20 years ago, a few years after we married," Caroline explains. "The Sponsorship Secretary at that time asked whether we preferred a boy or a girl. We weren’t sure, and she sent us photographs of two of each… This was fatal, as it was impossible to choose between such delightful small children, and we therefore decided to sponsor all four!
"One of the girls was sadly withdrawn by her parent after a few years, but the other three youngsters progressed through their school years, enjoying all the opportunities provided by that wonderful place of learning in Kalimpong.
"We are so fortunate now to have the joy and privilege of continuing to sponsor one of 'our’ original four children: Shirley has gone on to Kolkata and is currently progressing her studies for a degree in Education. She was always either top, or near the top of all her classes and we are so proud of the lovely young woman she has become. We keep in regular touch by email and cards and, having known each other for most of Shirley’s life, we do hope we can all meet at some time in the future." Can you tell us about your long-running links to the Homes? "Our family connection with Dr Graham’s Homes began when Victoria was Queen! Andrew’s grandfather and Dr Graham shared a bachelor flat (known as a ‘chummery’) in Kolkata in the 1890s. This was before he started his famous school, but, as Andrew’s grandfather said, even then he [Dr Graham] was very adept at encouraging his many friends to donate towards his plans! In the end, grandpa donated the cottage at the school that became the Lucia King nursery (pictured, right, in the 1930s), and it was very moving for us to see the plaque above the nursery door commemorating this gift seventy years later in 2000, when we visited Kalimpong.
"Andrew’s mother had also consistently supported DGH from after the death of her father, so, outside the Graham family itself, we may hold the record as the longest supporting family of Dr Graham’s Homes! Our subsequent relationship, with all of ‘our’ four children has been very special for us, and happily continues with Shirley. We are blessed indeed."