The All Saints Guild and the SAC/DSG Foundation Office
The All Saints Guild Office and the Andrean Development Office have formally merged into a single entity, now called the SAC/DSG Foundation Office.
There are many sound reasons for the alignment. Office expenses and resources are shared, and qualified staff members in the fields of database management, alumnae relations, website management and event management now provide their expertise to both schools.
The team’s objectives are to provide exceptional service to Old Girls; to bring the DSG community together; to connect Old Girls with each other; to continually update Old Girls with current school and alumnae news; and to encourage Old Girls to support the continued development of the school’s academic, sporting, cultural and residential facilities.
The All Saints Guild continues to operate as an effective entity with a constitution, a President, an Executive Committee and Branch Committees. Old Girls become members of the All Saints Guild after leaving school. The Guild manages its own finances, undertakes fundraising for bursaries to DSG and arranges functions.
Many of the functions previously undertaken by the Guild Secretary are now performed by staff in the SAC/DSG Foundation Office.
The History of the All Saints Guild
The All Saints Guild and the SAC/DSG Foundation Office work very closely together to ensure that Old Girls are constantly kept in touch with each other and with DSG.
The DSG Guild was formed in 1884 and was affiliated to its parent body – the Cheltenham Ladies College Daisy Guild. Most of the staff members were in fact teachers from this college. This affiliation continued until 1924 when it was quite evident that DSG was able to stand on its own feet. There is a stained glass window presented to the Guild by the President and its members of Cheltenham Ladies College, it is situated in the Chapel.
Originally, the badge of our Guild was a daisy with the letters DSGG – this was for DSG Grahamstown, and not Guild as some of us may have thought. The annual subs were then 2/6d and this included a free magazine. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Miss Lilla Strong for the work she did as founder of the All Saints Guild. The Guild was inaugurated by a meeting of past girls held at the DSG on All Saints Eve, 1885. Miss Lilla Strong was the first President of the Guild, she was also from Cheltenham Ladies College and was only at the DSG for 4½ years. The purposes of the Guild were largely educational in the beginning, and there were a number of Guild Societies, like the Drawing Society, the Essay Society, and the Literary Society. Questions were given (open to Guild Members only), and essay topics given which Old Girls could write and send in – they were published along with the criticisms. In fact the magazine was called the All Saints Guild Magazine, and consisted almost entirely of work set by these Societies. The objects of the Guild were as follows – its objects shall be to help its members in self-improvement and in work for others, by promoting co-operation among them; through the medium of the Guild magazine, keeping members informed of the work done by others; pointing out to the courses of reading, and by any other means which shall be practicable.
The Guild forms a bond between the past and present pupils of the school. To most girls the school period of their lives is a really happy landmark, and the Guild has for one of its aims, the continuation of that happiness, which is due to pleasant associations. But beyond this it accentuates the responsibilities and duties that come into every woman’s life, and offers help and comfort to many who lad lonely lives, and to whom the sense of fellowship is a real blessing.
We need to urge the present girls to look upon the Guild as a body ready to receive them into membership, and keep them intellectually, socially and affectionately united to their school after they shall have ceased to be pupils. To quote Agnes Burt, DSG Guild secretary in 1890, “we can gain much, and we can give much, which it would be impossible to receive or to offer if we lived only the individual life.”
While never losing sight of those early days, the moral principles, and the Christian values and the sheer hard work done before us, we must move forward and not be afraid to make changes in order to move with the times. This has been one of the strengths of the All Saints Guild in the past. First, the Guild broke away from its links at Cheltenham College, because it would be less cumbersome and was able to survive, then the emphasis moved away from the educational magazine with poems and essays submitted by Old Girls, and the magazine became more a school magazine with only a small section allotted to old girls mews, branch news and minutes and financial reports of the AGM. Now, we’re back to All Saints Guild News as a separate publication, and that’s another example of staying alive! In 1992, Mr Wynne instigated a change to the constitution which meant that every girl from Std 6 would pay towards the Guild, so that by the time that that girl matriculates, she is automatically a fully paid up Life Member of the Guild. This, of course, met with certain opposition, as new ideas often do. It was another case of having to adapt or die, and I know that I can say for all of us here present, that we can see the wisdom of this decision, along with the year secretaries and all the joy of reunions that they have brought.