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News > School News > Robert Gray Medal Winner

Robert Gray Medal Winner

Read more about Blaine Tomlinson (1968G), recipient of this prestigious award, who was honoured last Friday, 3 May 2024, at a special College assembly.

Principal, Tony Reeler writes:

We were privileged to be able to acknowledge the last of our Robert Gray recipients, Blaine Tomlinson, at our assembly this week. Blaine’s philanthropic work over many years was recognized through the award and we commend him highly on what he has done to change the lives of others.


Mr Blaine Tomlinson came to Bishops in 1959, entering the Prep School, and finally matriculating as a Prefect in Gray House in 1968, with academic distinction. He fully participated in school life, playing for the First Rugby XV side for two years in a row, was Captain of Cross-Country and the winner in the middle-distance races. He was a Sergeant Officer in the Cadet Corps, and Secretary of the Historical Society. Mr Tomlinson’s memories of his time at Bishops, are of his happiest. This instilled in him good values and drive that stand him in good stead till today. After graduating with a degree in Economics and an MBA, he entered the financial world of derivative and currency trading; then later asset management. A paper he wrote called, Hedge Funds Demystified, is considered the universal, definitive handbook for hedge fund managers, financial institutions and treasury departments. He subsequently established his own company, Financial Risk Management, known as FRM in the industry, to become one of the most successful hedge fund companies in the world.

Mr Tomlinson never left it there. He sought ways to give back resulting in a wide range of philanthropic work. With like-minded investors, he collaborated to support children and mothers exposed to HIV/AIDS in Africa. He is one of the founding investors of ‘One-to-One Africa’ which was established in South Africa in 2001 – this focuses primarily on paediatric HIV which has helped more than 120,000 people and provided information to some 1.2 million people, after upscaling their projects. He also co-founded ‘Absolute Return for Kids’, a charity organisation that operates here in South Africa and globally, for children, irrespective of their background, giving them access to a worthy education and enabling real health choices in life.

With his passion for education derived from those earlier years as a student at Bishops, Mr Tomlinson is a foundation member of ‘The Principals Academy Trust’, an education academy in Cape Town that supports school principals to handle improvements with local education institutions mostly located in the townships. Thus far, it has impacted 265 schools with 346 teachers and 35 principals serving 63,572 children in South Africa. Another project he supports is Edulution Zambia reaching 50,000 learners for effective online health learning – this has created local job opportunities. Moving to healthcare, Mr Tomlinson co-founded Zimele, a non-profit organisation that aims to help Capetonians from disadvantaged backgrounds, who due to diabetes or injuries have had to have a limb amputated in order to get their lives back on track and gain job opportunity support. Closer to his home in Verbier, Switzerland where he lives, he enables people to have access to adaptive sports equipment for free, many have some or other health impairment including disabled children and young adults. This allows them to enjoy mountain activities together with their families.

Mr Tomlinson’s personal attributes and values of integrity, courage, sympathy for and protection of the disadvantaged, kindliness, unselfishness and stewardship shine through in how he approaches life and interacts with people and communities less

fortunate than he. He has dedicated his efforts and personal resources to working for the betterment of the lives of others, locally and internationally, spanning a period of more than forty years.

Mr Tomlinson enjoys hiking, cycling, scuba diving and in particular watching rugby where he is a keen supporter of the South African team. His main passion however is sailing and he aims to circumnavigate the world during the next five-years.

Blaine Tomlinson is the second recipient of the Robert Gray 2023 Medal.  John Dobson (1986K) also received the award this year. To read the John Dobson citation, please CLICK HERE to access the article published in March.



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