Charity key to campaign

Lidunians dinner. Pat Gower, Peter Biddulph, Jill Richards, David Coupe.
Lidunians dinner. Pat Gower, Peter Biddulph, Jill Richards, David Coupe.

A LONG-standing legacy of the past could hold the key as campaigners battle to maintain an independent future for King Edward and Queen Mary School.

The Lidunians’ Association of former pupils has thrown its full weight behind the campaign to stop the merger of KEQMS with Blackpool’s Arnold School under the United Church School Trust – and believes the Charity Commission could play a vital role in determining whether or not the merger goes ahead.

Lidunians spokesman David Coupe said: “A leading London barrister specialising in charity law and engaged by the parents’ group (protesting against the merger plan) has advised that the (merger) scheme in its present form is unacceptable.

“He commented that the handing over of the school to UCST can only take place with the consent of the Charity Commission.

“It is his understanding that the Commission has to approve a draft Scheme which, if approved, would change the charitable objects of a charity which has existed in the community for over 200 years.”

KEQMS has its roots in the Lytham Schools Foundation, which was the result of a relief fund founded after a flood disaster in 1719. The foundation opened King Edward VII School for Boys in 1908 and, in 1999, it amalgamated with Queen Mary School for Girls, opened by the foundation in 1930.

The Lidunians has more than 1,000 members and at its annual meeting, expressed dismay and disappointment that it had not been consulted by the governors before they took the decision to end over 100 years’ of responsibility for the school.

“Views were expressed that this momentous decision should not have been taken without the full involvement of the staff, many of whom have devoted their lives to the service of the school, the parents and ex-pupils,” said Mr Coupe.

“We all have to try really hard to find a solution which will enable the school to retain its independence. The Association supports the parents fully in their considerable endeavours to achieve this.”