A SCHOOL in India which was the vision of a late Leamington philanthropist has celebrated its tenth anniversary.
The Buwan Kothi International Trust (UK) was set up by Gilly Mundy – son of former Leamington mayor and long time councillor Mota Singh – in 2006 to raise money to build a school.
Gilly was inspired after he, new wife Debbie, and family and friends, had been overwhelmed by the warm welcome and hospitality received when they travelled to the north Indian state of Haryana in 2005 to celebrate their marriage.
But two years later Gilly tragically died aged just 36 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
But his family and friends were determined to see his dream realised and the Gilly Mundy Memorial Community School – known as the Gilly School – is now thriving with 800 plus pupils, together with some 60 teachers and support staff.
And trust members recently flew to India to celebrate the landmark birthday with pupils and staff.
Marcia Watson – who was among the party which also included Gilly’s dad Mota and his brother Jas, Maggie McGreevy, Jatinder Singh Birdi and Janet Alty – said it was a special occasion.
She told The Observer: “The junior sections performed songs, dances and poetry. The senior section followed a similar theme producing several complex dances. In particular the boys doing bhangra were so impressive they had the audience cheering. It was an incredible showcase for the depth of learning and talents of the children.
“The school now has an outward indication of its excellence. The drive into the school is informative. There are pictures of the staff and children on posters highlighting their achievement as well as those that have supported the school both from the UK and India.
“The array of shrubs, flowers, trees planted in the grounds make it warm, welcoming and inviting.
“The school is a living legacy – so many people, both students and the community have benefited from the dream of a young man who sadly did not live to see it materialise.”
Although a private school, it is not driven by profit. Education comes first at the Gilly School, with all money raised ploughed back into the education of the pupils.
Supporters are particularly proud of the assisted places scheme, funded by the trust in the UK, which pays for a quarter of all pupils to attend a school their families would otherwise not be able to afford. The fund is known as the Dr James Partridge Fund, in memory of one of the school’s earliest supporters, and founder of the trustees.
The anniversary also saw the official opening of the new primary block named after dedicated supporter Hannah Griffiths.
The wife of former Leamington mayor Tom left £64,000 in her will for the benefit of the school. Mota was friends with Hannah and Tom for over 40 years.
Visit www.buwankothi.org.uk for further details, and to make a donation.