Design boss gives his old Portsmouth school a brand new canteen

BACK IN TOWN Chief executive of Kurt Geiger Neil Clifford paid a visit to his old school where he paid for a new canteen area.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (114099)
BACK IN TOWN Chief executive of Kurt Geiger Neil Clifford paid a visit to his old school where he paid for a new canteen area. Picture: Malcolm Wells (114099)
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HE MAY not be going into the catering business any time soon – but the boss of designer shoe empire Kurt Geiger has sponsored a revamp of a Portsmouth school’s canteen.

Neil Clifford said he was thrilled to see the new green and white facility at Mayfield School in North End which has vegetable, curry and pasta bars and two TV screens for students and staff to enjoy.

The 44-year-old businessman, whose three elder brothers and mum still live in Portsmouth, attended Mayfield from 1978 to 1983 and wanted to give something back.

He said: ‘I’m impressed with the new canteen and it was nice to go back and see the students enjoying it.

‘When I was at Mayfield the canteen was not somewhere you’d want to have lunch so all the kids went to the Copnor Road chip shop for a pasty, a pack of crisps and a can of coke. But I had a brilliant time at school.

‘There’s something quite cool about Mayfield, it’s an impressive building and I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

‘I made some money and I wanted to help.

‘My view is if you do well in life you should give something back – and the best way to improve what we’ve got is supporting the kids.’

He added: ‘The canteen is great but I don’t think we’ll be opening Kurt Geiger coffee shops any time soon.’

Mr Clifford donated £12,000 for the refurb carried out by Mayfield staff who knocked down walls between two classrooms and an office, raised the floor level, painted the walls and installed new lights and carpet.

Headteacher David Jeapes said: ‘I’m overwhelmed with Neil’s generosity and I am so proud as headteacher of this school that a former student has made such a great success of themselves.

‘He is a great role model for our students who absolutely love their new canteen.’