Freemen's bursaries: Gary's story

Gary’s story - Class of 1992

Although Gary joined Freemen’s when he was 11, he was offered a bursary to stay onto Sixth Form in 1990. At that time, his parents were going through a divorce and money was tight.

“This was when my parents split up. The housing market had collapsed, the economy was doing really badly, so there was that real worry that I might have to leave the school,” Gary explains.

“School kept me grounded. My homelife was in a bit of turmoil. Being able to stay on at the school into Sixth Form gave me some continuity and grounding and some sort of connection to others that I would have lost if I’d left the school.

Bursaries are important because they give pupils a chance that they perhaps would never have. Bursaries can open up so many doors.

Gary’s happiest times at Freemen’s were in the Sixth Form, when he says he “came out of his shell”.

“Up until I was 16, I was a quiet and shy student student and didn’t really have that many friends. I formed a group of the prefects who would hang out together and in Upper Six, I actually became Head Boy.

“Teachers were really keen to see us succeed. They gave us a lot of help: prepping for university, filling out the forms and preparing for the interviews we might have to go to,” Gary recalls fondly.

After leaving Freemen’s, Gary read Law with European Legal Studies at Bristol University, spending a year in Germany. He went on to practice law for a year. He spent the next 10-12 years working in legal recruitment. He now works as a Chartered Financial Planner at GSQ Wealth.

“I realised there was a real need for students to understand more about financial education. I reached out to Freemen’s about four years ago now to see if they would be interested in me delivering financial workshops and they jumped at the chance.”

He returned to Freemen’s in 2019 to deliver his first workshop.

“I was slightly nervous because I hadn’t really been back at the school since I was a pupil and being on the other side of the fence was quite weird for me, but once you’ve got through four workshops in one day with 25 students in each workshop, you get used to being the one standing there delivering the class.”

Gary has been back to deliver workshops every year since.

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