Jeremy was a good friend of the Embassy. He had come to Slovenia with a vision to establish a British International School, and achieved his dream through the energetic leadership for which he will be remembered. I am a former teacher myself, and have taught in a number of schools, both in the UK and abroad. What has always struck me as particularly impressive about the British School here is the warm and supportive environment that Jeremy created for his students. This would be noteworthy anywhere, but when half of the student population come from countries other than Slovenia, it is particularly important to ensure that school is a place that they can feel safe and settled. I am sure the students will all miss Jeremy.
I worked closely with Jeremy in the run-up to the visit of The Earl and Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward and his wife Sophie) to Slovenia in June this year. The Earl and Countess visited the British School, and Jeremy and his students did us proud with a fantastic performance of music and dance. The British School is part of what we call "British House", which is our way of bringing together all the institutions that fly the British flag in Slovenia under one umbrella. With our colleagues in the British Council, the British Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, the British School and the Duke of Edinburgh International Award (here called MEPI) we try to find ways we can work together to promote the UK in Slovenia, as we did in June.
Embassies are no longer the corner-stone of ex-patriot communities as they used to be. We do outreach with the community, such as hosting an Olympics Opening Ceremony party last year or visiting Murska Sobota, where the majority of the community live; but in the main, the community is self-sufficient. That is what makes institutions like the British School so important. The School is one of the places where Brits in Slovenia come together, where friendships are formed and where support networks are built. In this way the School has become an indispensable part of life in Ljubljana for many Brits, beyond being simply the place where children get an education.
Although Jeremy's untimely death leaves a gaping hole in the British community, I am optimistic for the future. The School will no doubt continue to grow. Jeremy left it well placed to cope, with two excellent deputies and an able Board of Governors ready to steer the school through this difficult period. There can be no better tribute to Jeremy than his school. He has left us a wonderful legacy.
Jamie Hilton, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy