A PHILANTHROPIC farmer from South Willingham has left more than £3 million to charity to benefit his fellow county-folk.
Frank Lacey died in 2008 at the age of 92 years and in his will he bequeathed almost £600,000 each to five charitable causes – Cancer Research UK, Macmillan, the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation and Arthritis Research.
Mr Lacey also left a legacy of £100,000 to the Barkwith Group of Churches, stipulating £70,000 should be used in South Willingham, with £6,000 going to each of the other five churches.
The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, went along to South Willingham Church to dedicate the work done to St Martin’s with this generous gift.
“The church has been so well restored, thanks to the generosity of this benefactor,” he said.
“It is such an inspiring building and the engagement of the community here is wonderful.”
Work done at the church included the restoration of the tower – repointing and replacement of stone – with new pinnacles and internal redecoration.
The refurbishment of the village hall has also been completed, a project begun with a bequest from Frank’s wife, Jill.
Representatives from Macmillan, Cancer Research and the Air Ambulance were also present at the service to give thanks for Mr Lacey’s generosity.
“It is an incredible amount for us to receive and I am so proud to be here today,” said Sue Kirk, a trustee for Macmillan.
“The money will be used to fund a lymphedema clinical nurse specialist for the East Lincs coast area, a psychology clinical nurse specialist and an upper-gastrointestinal Macmillan nurse based at Boston Pilgrim, as well as supporting the information hub at Lincoln.”
For Cancer Research UK, the money was used to cover the cost of the final 18 months of the United Kingdom Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (UKFOCSS),
Cancer survivor Chris Parkes, who works as a volunteer ambassador and fundraiser for the charity, said how “honoured and privileged” he was to be representing the charity on this remarkable occasion.
Also present at the service was Margaret Lakin-Whitworth, a volunteer with the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.
While at South Willingham, Bishop Christopher also dedicated the new altar cloths given to the church in memory of Audrey Hildred, a one-time resident of the village who at various times served as a school teacher, Brown Owl, churchwarden, organist and lay chairman of the deanery.