Carrickfergus man’s will to support community for another 260 years

A former Carrickfergus Alderman’s last will continues to keep on giving to the community centuries after his death.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 2:46 pm

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has opened the Gill’s Charity Fund for applications from groups supporting older people in the Carrickfergus area.

Funding of up to £2,000 is available to support the physical and mental wellbeing of older people through activities which reduce isolation, support independence and enable active participation in community decision-making and addressing issues facing their sector.

The Gill’s Charity was established in 1761 from the will of Henry Gill and for 260 years the charity has been supporting the Carrickfergus community. Last year the trustees of Gill’s Charity took the decision to transfer the Trust to the Community Foundation

Victor Hart (left) and John Richardson, former chairman and secretary of Gill’s Trust in Carrickfergus which has been transferred to the Community Foundation.

This ‘Trust Transfer’ will enable the Foundation to continue to meet the objectives of Henry Gill and, being held in perpetuity, be there to support groups in Carrickfergus for another 260 years.

As well as outlining who should receive his sword, waistcoat and diamond cut stone buttons set in gold, Henry Gill’s will, written in 1761, also stipulated that the residual value of his estate be used “for the annual support and maintenance of fourteen aged men, decayed in their circumstances and that are not able to get a maintenance to themselves”.

Marcus Cooper, fund development manager at the Community Foundation said: “We are delighted to welcome The Gill’s Charity Fund into our family and we look forward to supporting projects in Carrickfergus. It’s amazing to know that 260 years after Henry Gill passed away he is still making a difference in his local community.

“The Foundation manages a number of funds for individuals, families, companies and charities. Each fund is flexible and has its own purposes and criteria, agreed in advance with the donor. Importantly for Gill’s, a fund can also be held in perpetuity.”

John Richardson, previously secretary of Gills Charity, said: “Sadly our board had become much depleted over the years and it had proved more and more difficult to recruit new members. Our chairman, Victor Hart and the remaining trustees were delighted that the Community Foundation were able to take on the future administration of grants locally and to ensure the continuance of Henry Gill’s wishes beyond the 260th anniversary of his original will.”

To apply to the Gills Charity Fund, visit www.communityfoundationni.org

To find out how the Community Foundation could help your charity continue to meet its objectives or how to establish your own fund through your will, visit communityfoundationni.org/inspiring-generosity or contact Marcus Cooper at [email protected]

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