Remarkable legacy of former Norwich City chairman Geoffrey Watling breaks £6m barrier

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He was known as 'Mr Norwich City' and his remarkable legacy has today reached a magnificent milestone - with more than £6m of grants now made to hundreds of charities and organisations across the length and breadth of Norfolk and Waveney.

The latest batch of grants handed out by a trust set up by former Canaries chairman and president Geoffrey Watling has pushed the total amount paid out to a mammoth £6,072,034.

Businessman Mr Watling, who is credited with saving the football club when he took the helm in the 1950s, set up the charitable trust in 1993, following the death of his daughter Carol, with the appointment of four trustees.

With his death, in November 2004, at the age of 91, the majority of his estate was bequeathed to the Geoffrey Watling Charity to continue the good work he started and, since then, organisations of all sizes and across the region have benefited.

The charity has helped more than 700 charities and organisations and Mr Watling's nephew Alan, one of the trustees, said: 'The fact we have been able to give out £6m locally in just over 11 years is unbelievable.'


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The trustees meet quarterly to consider grant applications and the grants awarded to 20 charities and organisations last month saw the £6m barrier broken.

Among the latest grants was £30,000 to The Norwich Hebrew Congregation of £30,000 towards a project to upgrade their Earlham Road premises to provide a modern Jewish Centre for the community and a grant of £15,000 to Writers' Centre Norwich towards their campaign to upgrade Dragon Hall in King Street.

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Marian Prinsley, president of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, said: 'We are so grateful to the Geoffrey Watling Charity. Our synagogue was built as a temporary one after the one off King Street in Norwich was bombed during the war, so we are trying to raise money to renovate it.'

Norwich Cathedral received £14,500 towards replacement of interior lighting; Marshland St James and District Community and Sports Centre in Wisbech got £7,500 towards ta new integrated sports and community centre; and Home-Start Suffolk got £7,500 towards the expansion of the service into the Waveney district in partnership with Home-Start Great Yarmouth.

Other grants went to: Hope into Action; All Saints' Church in Burnham Thorpe; Coltishall and Great Hautbois Parochial Church Council; Waveney Stardust Trust Ltd; East Suffolk Association for the Blind; Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust; BREAK; Norwich charity STEP; Holy Trinity Church in Barsham; Norwich-based CAST Education; St Mary and St Walstan Church in Bawburgh; St Mary's Church in Watton; King's Lynn Norfolk Boat Trust; Norfolk Museums Development Foundation; Friends of Garrick Green; Flegg Education Academy Trust and Scarning Pre-School.

Among the other organisations which have been helped in the past are Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Historic Churches Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind.

• Do you have a story about a local charity which has been handed a boost? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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