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The New Year is a traditional time for fresh beginnings. But with Britain in lockdown again, facing down a resurgent variant of the challenging Covid-19 virus, it bodes another disrupted term for our current Noon Scholars at Oxford and Cambridge. Both universities will again be doing their utmost to ensure learning continues as strongly as ever. Here Colleges that can form their own lockdown bubbles, come into their own.

Lockdown, though, does remind one just what is so special about Oxbridge and what attracted our founder, Lady Vicky Noon, to focus on the two universities when setting up her scholarship legacy. Of course, she knew so many successful Pakistani leaders in different fields who were Oxbridge graduates. But, as I know from my conversations with her, it was also knowledge of the so-called famous “Oxbridge experience” which includes the face-to-face tutorial system, the mass of social, sports, debating, drama and activist clubs and societies, the daily interactions with a global array of young scholars drawn from more than 140 countries, not to mention that special inclusiveness of Collegiate life.

With the vaccines now being rolled out, we can, though, look forward to normal service being resumed. Meanwhile, we continue to track down our past Noon Scholars – and we need your help: please see if you know any of those with an asterisk in the lists here.

As always, please remember to fill out our 2020 survey if you have not already.

With All Good Wishes,

Dr Paul Flather,

Chair VNEF,

Fellow, Mansfield College, Oxford

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