Sidmouth Trust launches to help ‘nurture’ town’s future projects

Edward Willis Fleming and John Dyson launch the new Sidmouth Trust charity.

Edward Willis Fleming and John Dyson launch the new Sidmouth Trust charity. - Credit: Archant

Residents and visitors who love Sidmouth can leave a ‘lifetime gift’ to the town through a new legacy charity.

John Dyson and Edward Willis-Fleming on the esplanade. Ref shs 11-17TI 8914. Picture: Terry Ife

John Dyson and Edward Willis-Fleming on the esplanade. Ref shs 11-17TI 8914. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Sidmouth Trust is a charitable fund that has been set up to help projects that will benefit the area.

It was the brainchild of businessman Edward Willis Fleming, who was inspired by the donations of benefactors Keith Owen and Annie Leigh Browne.

After approaching the town council 18 months ago, the trust has now appointed a chairman and independent trustees.

Mr Willis Fleming said there was a desire to be more proactive rather than reactive, saying: “So much of what we celebrate has been made possible by the generosity of previous lovers of Sidmouth and in the era of less and less public money, Sidmouth will need to sustain itself in the future, as well as evolve through a renewed spirit of giving something back.


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“We are in a sense ‘the alumni’ of the town. We have grown, benefited and been nourished in the Sid Valley’s calm and beautiful environment.

“Most of us have felt nurtured by this place and many of us might want to repay that by helping to nurture Sidmouth into the future- either while we are still alive or after we have passed away.”

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Councillor John Dyson, who has been appointed chairman for the trust, unveiled the idea before the chamber of commerce last week.

Cllr Dyson said: “We said that people should be able to donate to it anytime; it doesn’t have to be a legacy.

“It’s not just people who live here, it’s also those people who are regular visitors.”

He said projects such as the Beach Management Plan and organisations that help the community could benefit from a donation.

When asked about comparisons to the Keith Owen Fund, Cllr Dyson said the trust was a more flexible fund with greater possibilities.

He said: “I would hope that within five years we had a sum of money that would be worth considering.

“I wouldn’t want to rule anything out. I’m feeling very positive.

“I recognise it will be a long-term thing, but it will always be there.

“We have done all the back-room work and that helps a great deal.”

The trust will launch a website with information about the trust and answers about leaving bequests to the charity.

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