UK COMMITTEE TRUSTEE PROFILES

James MacHardy (Chair) - After a career at sea for 18 years, I came into shore based ship management and was responsible for BP Shipping’s Offshore and then gas fleet operations.  After BP Shipping I was appointed CEO of a NGO involved in gas tanker and terminal safety and operations based in London.

Involvement with DGH came with the 2008 Bike Ride and I became a Trustee in 2010.  Having always known about the Homes it was beneficial to know the workings of the UK and Kolkata committees more closely.  I became Chairman in 2015 and have taken part in five Bike Bengal cycle runs.

Aileen Fraser (vice Chair) - As time ensued we learned about the Homes.  We were encouraged to sponsor individual children participating in their fund raising walk from Kalimpong to Darjeeling.  Later I began to sponsor a wee girl called Anita who I met in 2001 on my first 3Ks Tour, a great way to visit the Homes, and who is now married and living in Delhi.  At present   sponsor Rocky, a final year student.

Troon Friends of Kalimpong grew out of the very successful 2007 Homes Choir UK tour during which they spent two happy nights in Troon and treated us to a wonderful concert in Troon Old.  Thereafter I was invited to join the UK Committee and last year I was honoured and privileged to be asked by our Chairman, James MacHardy, if elected, to be his Vice-Chairperson.

Jim Gibson (Treasurer) - 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 40 years.  I enjoy hillwalking, languages and travel.

Jim Simpson (Sponsorship Secretary) – His personal family connection with the Homes provides the incentive to seek to make a difference to the operations of Homes and School to the benefit of sponsored children, pupils, teachers and sponsors alike.  Visiting the Homes annually in the course of sponsorship management, his construction background adds value to his time on campus when called upon to advise on infrastructure and building issues.  He is also a member of the Kolkata Board of Management.

Anne Hoggan (Committee Secretary) - During my first visit in 2006 I was totally captivated by the children at Dr Graham's Homes and decided to become more involved.  I joined the UK Committee in 2008 and have returned to Kalimpong twice - on both occasions meeting up with the child I support.  I very much enjoy being the Secretary of the Committee.

Fiona Cranston - Daughter of Dr David Graham, the eldest of the founder's six children.  Kalimpong Association trustee and sponsorship secretary for 30 years which has involved corresponding with many children at the school.  London Ladies Lunch Committee for over 30 years including 5 years as Chairman.  Director of Dr Graham’s Homes ( Greeting Cards) Ltd for 9 years

Tina Dennis - I have been interested in, and fund-raising for, DGH for nearly 20 years and during that time have sponsored two boys who are just about to complete their education at the Homes.  My principle interest is in supporting the Girl's Hostel in Kolkata which Caroline Eckersley and I started about 17 years ago.  We do this mainly by buying goods in India and selling them in the UK.  My support of the Homes continues as despite, over the years, seeing the growth of the modern Indian economy, the under-lying poverty of so many never seems to diminish.

Anne Donnan - I was introduced to the Dr Grahams Homes while on holiday in India when our tour guide organised a visit to the school.  When I returned home I read more about Dr Graham and made a decision to sponsor two children.  Both children have now left the school and are pursuing career paths. I have been a member of the UK committee for four years and currently share the sponsorship of four children, through fundraising jointly with a friend and member of the committee.

Mr Frank Dunn - 

Caroline Eckersley - Due to my mother's childhood spent in Calcutta and Kalimpong the Homes, in particular, have interested me since I was a child.  My role consequently, has been as fund-raiser, sponsor and visitor!  Initially Tina and I raised enough for a Girl's Hostel in Calcutta, which I remain passionate about.

Mrs Shona Hume - 

Alistair McCabe - I was born in the Homes in the 50’s when my father was Farm Manager.  I am a tour operator by trade and on our committee organise trips to India giving sponsors the opportunity to meet their children.  I also help with the various ways we communicate with our supporters.

Margaretta Purtill - I believe that I am the only OGB and Anglo Indian serving on the DGH UK Committee.  I had the wonderful experience and privilege to pass through the Homes (1950 to 1962.) and was admitted at age 5 years.  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 will do whatever it takes to restore it to what it used to be - a Christian School (Home) for the needy/deprived Anglo Indian child.

Pat Simpson - A career in education with an emphasis on Special Needs provides extra support to Homes staff in dealing with the particular problems that many of our sponsored children bring with them to the Homes.  She has visited Kalimpong on many occasions so is able to follow through on the issues affecting many of our children.  She maintains a close personal contact with many of our college students and graduates.

Nina Toller - I was born and brought up in Calcutta and  went to school at Loreto House which was situated In the same street as the Birkmyre Hostel and the Kalimpong Homes bakery, the latter which sadly no longer exists.  Hence my interest in the Homes as it was something one grew up knowing about.  Joined the London Ladies Lunch Committee as a fundraiser and proceeded to becoming a trustee.

Rev. John Webster - Served on the staff of Dr. Graham's Homes from 1964 - 1973 as Chaplain & Farm Manager - a splendid experience with the children and staff and with the Nepali workers on the farm.  Joined U.K. Committee shortly after return.  Served two separate terms as Chairman and now the "old-man" of the Committee.
['Old man' of the Committee is not apt - John is more like the “Father of the Committee” – as an eminent and long serving MP in Parliament would be recognised, Editor.]

David Willis – Learnt about the Homes through a newspaper article.  I am passionate about the value of education and believe strongly that the sponsorship programme gives children opportunities to have hope for better prospects in life than would otherwise come their way.  I visited the Homes when on one of the Bengal Bike Rides and now put together the bi-annual Newsletters.