Tofu and beans pay pounds 1,000 dividend for schoolgirl

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The Independent Online
For one vegetarian public schoolgirl, a loyalty to tofu and beans over burgers and bacon has led to a pounds 1,000 saving on school fees, thanks to a forgotten vegetarian scholarship.

Lisa Stephenson, 15, a pupil at Wycliffe College, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, saved her parents a year's fees after unearthing details of an award set up by an Edwardian headmaster at the school in 1909.

The scholarship had gone unclaimed since 1993, but Lisa, a pupil at the school for two years and a committed vegetarian, was a clear candidate.

She said yesterday: "When I heard vegetarians could get a special scholarship I spoke to my tutor and he had a word with the headmaster.

"I have been vegetarian all my life. So have all my family. I don't even have to take any exams to get the award - just carry on not eating meat."

The school - motto "Bold and Loyal" - has blazed a vegetarian trail since the days of headmaster George Sibly, who introduced two annual meat-free scholarships early this century. As a crusading vegetarian, Sibly was a rare beast at the time and a fierce debate raged over whether lack of meat would harm growing children. But he stuck to his guns and in 1909 founded Springfield House - an experimental boarding house within the college where boys lived on salads, nuts, lentils and honey, and where steak was firmly off the menu.

When Sibly's son William took over as headmaster of Wycliffe he took a group of pupils to a vegetarian conference in Holland in 1946.

Among the pupils was Lisa's grandfather Roger Bacon - who met and fell in love with vegetarian Dutch woman Marja Klerkx. She later became his wife and the grandmother of Lisa.