Sidmouth Trust sets out plans to attract donations

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

Supporters of a legacy charity have appealed to Sidmouth’s business community to help get the fund ‘off the ground’.

The Sidmouth Trust launched last year to allow residents and visitors who love the town to leave a donation to spend on 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.

The businessman spoke at a recent Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce meeting to give an update about the trustees’ plans for the year to start attracting support for the charitable trust.

Mr Willis Fleming said: “The trust is already established, what it needs now is some leaflets and a website, so people can see it and say, ‘That’s a good idea - I will leave it £500, £5,000, £50,000’.

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“It is a way of giving back to this extraordinary place.”

When asked about the sort of projects the money would be used for, he suggested a temporary jetty, equipment for Sidmouth College or contributions towards talented youngsters who may need financial help.

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“There are so many things and that will become what people will feed in,” he said.

“You might have a child who is a musical prodigy and might get a space at the Royal College of Music but the parents can’t afford to send that child there. The town might say, ‘this is a child of Sidmouth, we want to help that person’.

“I think the wider aspiration is for people to look at Sidmouth and think ‘that’s the way to do it’.

“It’s not just a question of sitting down and writing your will and thinking ‘where am I going to leave money too?’ but ‘I want to give something back to Sidmouth, I remember Sidmouth all my life and in a little way it would be nice if Sidmouth could remember me.’”

Councillor John Dyson, another of the trustees, asked chamber members to join the committee.

He added: “I think many of us would like to leave our small mark on Sidmouth in some way or other.

“We should all wish to preserve Sidmouth in a reasonable way.”

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