The fund was started in 1897 by a few Old Girls, they undertook to subscribe enough money annually to pay part of the fees for a day girl who would not otherwise be able to come to Godolphin. Miss Douglas undertook to find a child needing such help. The first year there were thirty-two subscribers, and these increased until in 1903 there were eighty-three. In this year Jean Alexander generously offered to make up the sum collected to £40 a year on condition that the scholarship should in future go to a boarder. A committee was elected to administer the fund and to choose the Old Girls’ scholar, as she was to be called henceforward. Every subscriber had the right to nominate a candidate for the scholarship, and preference was to be given to girls living in the country, where education is difficult to obtain. The committee was to be re-elected every three years by vote of the subscribers, and one member was to be chosen by the head mistress.
The fund increased slowly and steadily till 1922, when it was found possible to raise the amount of the scholarship to £60 a year. In 1925 two splendid efforts were made on behalf of the fund by Old Girls and present school. The Old Godolphin Players acted Love’s Labour’s Lost in a hall in Salisbury before a large Commemoration audience, and, as a result, handed £88 over to the fund. The next day an American Sale of Work was held at school in aid of the fund, which brought in £125. The Committee decided that £200 should be invested in War stock to make the nucleus of a capital fund, and with the help of the interest from this investment, a second scholarship of £50 a year should be offered, in the faith that the subscriptions would increase rather than decrease.
These facts tell in outline the story of the Old Girls’ Scholarship Fund ; the details can only be provided by a knowledge of the lives of those whom it has helped. For them it has meant the chance of a public-school education covering all their school years, and, through that fact, the backing of the School’s name, the gaining of lifelong friends and the chance of a career where they can use all their powers. The scholarships are likely to be given more and more frequently to relatives, often even daughters, of Old Girls, and thus will directly benefit the givers as members of one body and sharers in its needs. The School, too, gains in being able to receive girls who have learnt in their homes to care for its traditions and to feel in advance its inspiration.
The small beginnings of 1897, the fresh impetus of Jean Alexander’s generosity in 1903, have found their fruition in the two scholarships that are held in the school to-day thirty years later. Perhaps it is only the members of the committee which has to administer the fund who realise the poignancy of having to refuse applications and the joy of being able to give so much needed help. In truth, there is no limit to its usefulness, nor any link that draws past and present more closely together.