Saturday 10th June saw Manchester High School for Girls host its eighth Bursary Ball at the Hilton Hotel on Deansgate. Over £22,500 was raised, with all funds going directly to the school’s Pankhurst Bursary Fund.
Despite the event being compared by well-known Key 103 presenter, Darren Proctor, and television personality, Jenny Powell, it was mother and daughter duo, Jennifer and Nicola Stockdale from Audenshaw who stole the show.
Nicola, a Sixth Form pupil at Manchester High has been in receipt of bursary funding since she joined the school aged 11. Currently studying for A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Economics, Nicola took the opportunity to explain the impact that a Manchester High education has had not just on her academic performance but her life outside the classroom.
She said: “Back in Year 8 we went on a trip to Debdale Outdoor Centre where we took part in water sports such as windsurfing and sailing. I enjoyed it so much that I joined the junior club and now, four years later, I am a fully qualified dinghy instructor, an assistant windsurfing coach and have been named Manchester Sports Young Volunteer of the Year. Sailing is something I am truly passionate about and without MHSG I would never have had the opportunity to step foot in a boat! In 2014, my father passed away from cancer at the young age of 37. In the time since his death, Manchester High has provided constant support, for me and my family. There has always been someone I can talk to. During this difficult time, the school bursary fund has supported my mother to make the adjustment to a single wage, allowing me to continue my studies without the fear I would have to leave due to financial pressures.”
Jennifer Stockdale, Nicola’s mum, commented: “You hear the words ‘teenage parents’ and a very vivid image comes into your head. I was just 17 when Nicola was born and I promised her our family was not going to be just another statistic. Despite being a young mum, I had a definite sense of the qualities that I wanted to nurture in Nicola; independence, strength and a voice to be heard, and, with that in mind, there was really only one choice for her, Manchester High School for Girls. The fees were of course a problem. After many lengthy discussions, tears, interviews and examinations, MHSG made a decision that changed our lives forever; to award Nicola a bursary. The kindness and generosity of people that have donated to the bursary appeal over the years has meant that Nicola is now in Junior Sixth with a world of choice and opportunity. I don’t think this would have been possible anywhere but Manchester High.”
UKFast MD, Jonathan Bowers, was present at the event and was fascinated by Nicola and Jenny’s speeches. He said: “We work closely with MHSG as a school in a bid to tackle the widening gender gap across the tech industries but an event like tonight really brings home to you just how special the school is, the young women it turns out and the impact it can have on entire families. We’re thrilled to be able to support the bursary appeal.”
This September, nine new pupils will join MHSG on bursary places, taking the total of girls attending the school thanks to financial assistance to 91 since 2010.
Head Mistress, Claire Hewitt, said: “Our ambition to put 100 bright, deserving girls through Manchester High, regardless of their families’ ability to pay is well on the way to becoming a reality. Ongoing support for the bursary fund is vital, not just to make sure that we reach that 100 milestone but that we reach way, way, way beyond it.”
Manchester High School for Girls would like to thank the Bursary Ball’s official sponsors, Raised Floor Solutions Ltd, Pareto, Equator and JMW Law, as well as all the individuals and businesses who donated auction prizes.