|29 Jan 2021|
I will be forever grateful to Ipswich School for the generosity expressed to my brother and I.
In the mid-1960s, when we were young pupils, family circumstances made it seem impossible for us to remain at the School. The Headmaster, Mr Mermagen, and the Head of Prep, Mr Gleave, stepped in: They organised for our tuition fees to be paid by Essex County Council (as we had passed the 11+), and our boarding fees to be covered by the School per a Bursary. I believe that the education and confidence I gained there have shaped my life ever since.
I arrived at Junior House in 1960 and spent 12 years at the School as a boarder. In those years I made friends who are still on my Christmas list, 50 years later. It was a very different place back then. The UK was still emerging from the austerity caused by the War. We could freeze water under our cast-iron beds in winter; and even on the coldest days in the summer term we scaled a fire escape ladder from the first floor dorm to our mandatory early-morning swims – HSE today would have a nightmare!
I looked forward to games three afternoons a week – I was lucky to be in the unbeaten 1971 1st XV, as well as playing hockey and cricket.
"The sporting camaraderie and friendships I gained have been, and will be, with me forever."
After I left the School at 19, I eventually chose an Insurance career ultimately qualifying as a chartered loss adjuster – a career which has enabled me to work on three continents over the years. In Hong Kong I met my Californian wife, and after returning to the UK we moved to the USA in 1999, where I ended my career in 2018.
My life was shaped by a combination of the School and my dear mother: the broad education and confidence I gained created opportunities I wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t stood up for me in those difficult times. That’s why I have left a legacy to the School. It was my privilege to have had this opportunity, and I want to pass on my good fortune to the next generation.
My legacy gift will help future pupils who might otherwise have to leave due to family circumstances, and never fulfil their potential. It will also offer bursary support to talented children whose family circumstances mean that an Ipswich School education is out of reach.
“I firmly believe that a good education, once acquired, can never be taken away from you.”
William Latta OI