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News > William Smith Fund Latest > Dubai-based businessman makes record-breaking donation to PGS

Dubai-based businessman makes record-breaking donation to PGS

The Portsmouth Grammar School has received its largest donation for 30 years
3 Aug 2021
Written by Melanie Bushell
United Kingdom | United Arab Emirates
William Smith Fund Latest
Brian Wilkie MBE (second from right, back row) with Wilkie Scholars
Brian Wilkie MBE (second from right, back row) with Wilkie Scholars



The Portsmouth Grammar School has received its largest donation for 30 years to help fund pupils from Mayfield School to attend the PGS sixth form.

Brian Wilkie MBE, a successful Dubai-based businessman who attended Mayfield School from 1960-66 (when it was known as the Northern Grammar School), set up the Wilkie Scholarship scheme in 2012 to help young people from Mayfield School to succeed in life, no matter what their financial circumstances..

Thanks to his generosity, 18 young people have already been able to join PGS for their sixth form studies, before going on to attend some of the UK’s top universities. Mr Wilkie has now made a record-breaking donation to ensure the long-term future of the scheme, bringing his total contribution to the programme to more than one million pounds.

“My aim is to help all young people to succeed and fulfil their potential, no matter how disadvantaged their backgrounds may be” says Mr Wilkie, “I hope that all those funded through my scholarships will enjoy and use the opportunities offered at The Portsmouth Grammar School to help fulfil their own potential.  I have hugely enjoyed following the success of the 18 young people who have already benefited from the scheme, and look forward to hearing many more exciting stories in the future.”

Dr Anne Cotton, Head of PGS, added “We are immensely grateful to Brian for his enormous act of generosity. We are committed to opening our doors to more talented local young people, whatever their backgrounds and means, and are excited that Brian has joined us on this journey. Over the past 9 years, the Wilkie Scholars have made the very most of Sixth Form life to improve their own life chances, as well as taking the lead in drama productions, excelling on the sports field, raising hundreds of pounds for our partner schools in Cambodia and Uganda, and now pioneering our diversity and inclusion work. We are excited to see the impact future Wilkie Scholars will have in our school community, the city and the wider world.  Hopefully Brian’s wonderful gift will encourage and inspire other successful people to consider how best they can use their own resources to ‘pay it forward’ and help others in their turn.”

Mayfield School Headmaster, Mr David Jeapes, believes that being able to offer the Wilkie Scholarship to Year 11 pupils has been inspiring for all the Mayfield pupils, not just the Scholars.  “Over the last nine years, the Scholarship scheme has really motivated our pupils throughout the school, because Brian’s own story is one of success through hard work, determination and aspiring to be the best that you can be. This resonates with our school motto: ‘Your only limitation is your ambition’.” he said. “We feel very proud to be the only school in Portsmouth offering this type of scholarship and are grateful to Brian for his support and vision.”

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