Jersey College for Girls will be celebrating the achievements and efforts of our students with our annual Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday.
We are incredibly honoured that Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE has agreed to speak at the Ceremony and help present prizes to our students. Ms Casely-Hayford not only has an impressive career and strong involvement in the community that is sure to inspire our students, but she also has strong links to the College and the island as a whole: her great-grandfather, William Smith Jr, was one of the Founding Fathers of Jersey Ladies’ College, which her grandmother, Adelaide Casely-Hayford MBE (née Smith), was one of the first students to attend.
Ms Casely-Hayford is a British lawyer, businesswoman and public figure, who was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours list for services to charity and for promoting diversity in 2018, at the end of her term as trustee and Chair of international development Charity ActionAid UK.
As a lawyer, her portfolio includes advising young entrepreneurs, and supporting and advising organisations on governance and advising those, in particular women and BAME or LGTBQ+ people, who wish to embark upon board careers.
She has been a non-executive member of the Board of the Co-op Group since 2016, and was appointed Chair of Shakespeare’s Globe in January 2018, the same year in which she was appointed Chancellor of Coventry University.
About William Smith Jr
Born in Ghana in 1816, Mr Smith was educated by the Church Missionary Society. At the age of 17, he moved to Freetown, Sierra Leone, following his father into the Courts of Mixed Commission where he worked his way up to the position of Registrar and became an active member of the anti-slavery movement.
After retiring, he moved to London and then to Jersey for his wife’s health. In the island, he became a Wesleyan lay preacher.
When he found out boys had access to education through Victoria College, but his daughters didn’t have such option, Mr Smith joined a local committee considering education in the island, resulting in him becoming a Founding Father of Jersey Ladies’ College.
Mr Smith died in St. Helier in 1895 and is buried alongside his wife in Almorah Cemetery.
About Adelaide Casely-Hayford MBE
Adelaide was influenced by the College’s Principal at the time, Miss Eliza Roberts, who encouraged her love of music, and went on to study at the Stuttgart Conservatory in Germany.
Later, she returned to her birthplace of Sierra Leone and followed her father’s example, founding a school for girls in Sierra Leone.
She taught the girls to respect their African heritage and also emphasised practical skills which would enable them to support themselves in later life.
Despite her opposition to the injustices of the colonial system the British authorities awarded her an MBE in 1949, which she received in African dress.
She died in Freetown on 24 January 1960, aged 91.