Leave your cash to town and help make it special


Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

A legacy fund could be set up to allow residents who love Sidmouth to leave the town their fortunes – so the money can be spent on keeping it special.

The idea follows in the footsteps of the valley’s most famous benefactor, Keith Owen, who bequeathed his £2.3million fortune, but people would be able to write sums big and small into their wills.

Driving forces behind the concept believe residents would be willing to leave as much as £10,000 or even £100,000 – and maybe more.

John Dyson, who the organisers invited to represent the town council, said: “People have to think what they leave to the world when they go.

“I think it will be beneficial to everyone – it’s through leaving legacies to the town that we have things like the museum.

“It’s another way the town can benefit from the wealth of its individuals. I’m happy to do anything I can to support it.”

Edward Willis Fleming is leading preliminary talks with solicitors on how the idea could be implemented and has asked the town council to manage the fund.

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Town clerk Christopher Holland said: “There are people with money who would like to leave it to Sidmouth – not everyone wants to leave it to a charity or a hospital.”

He added that section 106 money – community cash paid by developers – would always be the first source of funding but bequests can support special projects.

The Sid Vale Association manages the Keith Owen Fund and regularly pays out thousands of pounds to worthy causes.

The town council already manages the Woolley Bequest, a will left by its namesake to benefit Sidmouth. The £170,000 in this will has gone towards projects such as the refurbishment of the Arches.

Mr Willis Fleming put forward the project in response to the council’s request for ideas on how to spend future funding allocations.

Responses ranged from the small and immediately achievable to projects such as a jetty that will require greater investment.

Three projects – seating and a village sign opposite the church in Salcombe Regis, safety handrails at Connaught Gardens and trees to ‘soften’ the Ham car park – were given the go-ahead straight away at a meeting last Monday.

l What do you think? Would you leave your fortune to Sidmouth? Write to sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk.