A Jewish philanthropist has been honoured for services to education and the chairman of the Association for Jewish Refugees has likewise been recognised for services to Holocaust Education in the New Years’ Honours List.
David Mellor, 58, who founded the Meller Educational Trust and chairs the National Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ Network, was given a CBE for services to education, while Andrew Kaufman, chair of the Association of Jewish Refugees, was awarded an MBE for services to Holocaust education.
The trust Meller heads comprises four Academies and two University Technical Colleges (UTCs), his personal journey beginning in earnest in 2005, when he helped sponsor and establish The Harefield Academy.
Three years later he became the sole sponsor of what became The Bushey Academy which opened in 2009, and the group now includes Hertswood Academy, the Francis Combe Academy, Elstree UTC and Watford UTC, Global Academy.
Meller, the joint chair of his family business, took his learning in education management to the Department for Education, where he became a non-executive board member in June 2013. He is also the chair of the National Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and the Apprenticeship Delivery Board. He also heads The Presidents Club, a charity investing in education.
“I’m thrilled and really proud,” he said. “It was a complete surprise, I was over-the-moon. My heart missed a beat. Obviously the work I do in apprenticeships and education, I get a real kick out of it. We have a great team behind us, with some absolutely wonderful head principals.”
Speaking to radio show Jewish Views, Andrew Kaufman said he got news of his nomination a few weeks ago, in a letter stamped ‘Cabinet Office.’ He said: “I’d been asked to recommend a friend so assumed it was a reference for him. Needless to say, I was shocked to say the least.”
He said he first thought of his parents – both refugees from Germany – and how they would have felt about it. “I felt sad that they were no longer here to see it, but I thought ‘maybe they’re looking down on me, and are really very proud.’”
The AJR looks after refugees from Nazi oppression, with 1,500 members now in their 80s and 90s, and 40 members over 100. The focus is on social welfare and keeping members in their own homes for as long as possible. The second aspect of the charity’s work is promoting Holocaust education, mainly through financing.
“I passionately believe that we need to educate our children about the Holocaust and its implications,” he said. “Sadly the world hasn’t learnt enough, and sadly there are many children growing up in this country who know nothing about it.”