Daniel Lett Scholarship Fund

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Daniel Lett (OB, Peele A, 1928–1933) was called to the Bar by Middle Temple seventeen years after leaving Christ’s Hospital. In 1979, having spent the majority of his life in the Caribbean, he contacted the School regarding his intention to leave a bequest, to allow Old Blues to follow a career at the Bar. Mr Lett died in 2004, and his bequest created an endowment as well as a smaller restricted fund.

Today, pupils can apply for assistance through the Daniel Lett Scholarship Fund for expenses incurred while exploring a vocation at the Bar, either through work experience, university visits or a mini-pupillage. Old Blues can also request assistance through this fund for furthering their studies to become a Barrister. Nana Afua Sarfo-Bonsu (LhA, GrE 2011-2018) told us how the Daniel Lett Scholarship Fund has assisted her since leaving Christ’s Hospital:

“The Daniel Lett Fund has been a remarkable source of funding for me across the last few years of my education, chiefly in what it has allowed me to do post Christ’s Hospital. The Fund is designed to support Old Blues who decide to pursue a career as a barrister which, many would agree, is a costly process. When deciding what to study at university as a Deputy Grecian, I was conflicted because I knew a career in law appealed to me, but I also wanted to pursue the study of Latin and English Literature and Language to a higher level. I was aware that if I chose to do this and later decided that I wanted to branch into law, I would face hefty course fees for the postgraduate law conversion course degree, also known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

Had I been aspiring to become a solicitor, these fees could potentially have been covered by a law firm if I agreed to join them for a training contract afterwards. However, as barristers are largely self-employed, there is no common pot from which prospective barristers can be offered financial aid. This makes securing funding for a career at the Bar a lot more challenging, with competitive scholarships the only hope for many students. Furthermore, after the GDL, prospective barristers undertake the Bar Vocational Studies course (BVS) before they are eligible for pupillage, the final required step in becoming a barrister. The BVS course fees are even higher than those of the GDL; and after the GDL many students struggle to support their living costs throughout the pupillage year.

As you can imagine, the process of becoming a barrister seemed daunting, to say the least, to 17-year-old me, but after finding out about the Fund and how it was able to offer support at each and every stage of the process, I felt a huge sense of relief. The Daniel Lett Fund has been able to support me across the various years of my degrees and even before I left CH by offering travel reimbursements for prospective student days and access schemes at different universities. Attending such programmes is what helped me to decide that Oxford would be the right university for my undergraduate degree. Having graduated and now completing the GDL course at The City Law School, I have had the fortune of not having to worry about my finances because of the level of support that the Fund provides. This has enabled me to enjoy my course, and the process of actually learning the law. I have already secured a further grant for the upcoming BVS year, which will enable me to concentrate on my studies and achieving the best grades possible.

What I have found incredibly powerful is how willing the Fund’s trustees, who typically work within the legal profession, are to help in providing advice and legal work experience. This has been invaluable and speaks to the larger ethos of supporting each other and the camaraderie that the Old Blue community fosters – and of course to the generosity of Daniel Lett himself, without whom many of us would have been unable to pursue a career at the Bar. This is what CH, at its heart, is all about!”

To apply for a grant from this Fund, please contact Caroline Lumley, PA to the Chief Operating Officer, at cjl@christs-hospital.org.uk

Nana Afua Sarfo-Bonsu (LhA, GrE 11- 18)