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A letter to Old Hiltonians – Q1 / 2022

150 Years of Friendship

Dear Hiltonians,

Hilton College was born out of a friendship, a friendship between William Orde Newnham and Gould Arthur Lucas, introduced by fate over 150 years ago.

Friendships are an innately human characteristic, and for a century-and-a-half generations of Hiltonians have formed the deepest of friendships, most lasting a lifetime. These friendships, forged in the struggles of boarding school life, battles on the sports field and long Sundays at Gwens, are treasured relationships, only truly appreciated as we grow older.

Yet with its incomparable location, magnificent facilities and estate, unique in all the world, Hilton’s material beauty makes it easy to forget that it is friendships that actually make Hilton what it is.

At the end of April, as signs of autumn appear in the Midlands, a great many Hiltonians from all over the world will be returning to our great school to celebrate our 150th anniversary and reaffirm these important friendships.

The programme of events for the 150th anniversary week – 27 April 2022 – 2 May 2022 – has been designed to facilitate friendship building amongst all members of the Hilton community.

The diversity of events on offer is deliberate, catering to a variety of interests so as to include everyone.

Year group reunions – over 30 have already been arranged.
Guided tours of the school followed by lunch in the dining room.
Theatre production – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the much-loved family musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, presented by Hilton College and St Anne’s Diocesan College.
Opening of the second Vula Lodge, part of Hilton’s exceptional community outreach initiative.
Gala dinners – A Black and White African Night.
Hilton | Michaelhouse derby sports fixtures.
Festival of Friends after the Saturday sports fixtures.
Chapel service on Sunday morning.
Picnicking on the estate.
Polo against Michaelhouse at Karkloof.

In addition, Hilton-branded merchandise and 150th anniversary memorabilia are available at the school or can be ordered online.

Again, the diversity of offerings is deliberate, catering to a wide variety of tastes.

150th anniversary book – an anthology of 150 remarkable Hilton stories.
Commemorative wines collection – from the La Vierge and Domaine des Dieux wineries.
Pinnacles statue – bronze statue of a Hilton boy standing on Pinnacles.
Clothing apparel – Hilton-branded caps, rugby jerseys, veldskoene, etc.

As can be seen from the events and projects planned for the school’s 150th anniversary celebration, the fundamental aim is to attract as many members of the Hilton community to the school as is possible.

Events of this magnitude and complexity do unfortunately come with unavoidable costs. It is for this reason that the school needs to charge an entry fee of R250 per car for access to the Hilton | Michaelhouse derby day. The levying of this fee has caused some to ask whether this is in fact just a fundraising exercise. The unequivocal answer is, no, this event is not in and of itself a fundraising exercise.

The proceeds of the gate takings are used to cover the substantial costs related to the Festival of Friends event, additional stands around Gilfillan, safety and security measures, Covid protocol adherence, insurance, additional ablutions, teas, supplementary staff, communication, etc. A charge to access the Hilton | Michaelhouse derby day has been levied by both schools for at least the past 15 years. To reduce entrance and parking congestion, partly due to Covid protocol adherence, we encourage you to adopt shared travel arrangements.

Equally, in order to deliver an exceptional experience at the gala dinners, professional event organisers, caterers, entertainment, equipment hire, etc. are required. All of this comes at a cost, hence the charge to attend.

As much as the 150th anniversary celebration is not a fundraising exercise, let there be no confusion: Hilton College needs to substantially grow its endowment fund.

Great schools all over the world rely on acts of philanthropy to support a wide array of projects, from maintenance and upgrading facilities to bursaries and scholarships.

This is mainly because schools are run as not-for-profit organisations, thus not generating any meaningful financial surplus that can be put to reserves.

Hilton College is no exception. Like other great schools around the world, Hilton requires a sizable endowment funded by philanthropy in order to remain relevant, sustainable and to thrive. In particular, we need to increase the amount of financial assistance we are able to offer families we wish to attract to Hilton, which includes support for Old Hiltonians.

Which brings me back to friendship.

It is tragic when young boys are unable to forge great friendships of their own at Hilton due to unaffordability. I appeal to each and every one of you to support our great school by contributing to substantially growing our endowment fund.

Less than a year ago it was unlikely that Hilton would be able to celebrate its 150th anniversary due to Covid-related restrictions. Eternally optimistic, the organising committee, school executive and board of governors put great effort into making the 150th anniversary celebration possible. But it will only really be a success with your involvement.

So, it is with great excitement that I look forward to welcoming many of you back to Hilton in a few weeks’ time as we look forward to the next 150 years of friendships.

Yours sincerely,

Anton Jooste

Chairman, Old Hiltonian Club