The Alexander Duckham Memorial Schools Trust

Helping RAF children in need

The Trust is named after Alexander Duckham, who founded Duckham's Motor Oils in 1899. As well as being a successful businessman, Alexander Duckham was an early aviation pioneer and close friend of cross-channel aviator Louis Bleriot. Indeed it was Duckham who paid for the stone memorial in Dover that marks the spot where Bleriot landed after his famous flight.

Duckham generously donated his home-Vanbrugh Castle-to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for use as a school for boys whose fathers had been killed in the First World War. Vanbrugh Castle was later sold after a decline in the number of pupils, but the funds raised continued to be used to educate RAF children in need at the Duke of Kent School in Ewhurst, Surrey. Following advice from the Charity Commission, the funds were transferred to a new trust, the Alexander Duckham Memorial Schools Trust, established by a Charity Commission Scheme dated 1 September 1997. The Scheme was amended in February 2010 after it became obvious to the Trustees that there was no realistic prospect of a significant number of RAF children in need being educated at the Duke of Kent School in years to come. The Scheme no longer requires the Trust to maintain a boarding school for RAF children in need but permits it to promote the education and welfare of RAF children in need.

The Trust and the Duke of Kent School now operate entirely independently of each other, with the Trust leasing the land and buildings at Ewhurst to the School.

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Vanbrugh Castle

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