Residents in their 90s at Thomas Philipot’s Almshouse Charity in Eltham have received Christmas gifts from a secret benefactor from 65 years ago.
A fund was formally established in perpetuity by Deed in 1958 under the circumstances that the benefactor’s name was never to be revealed.
Nick Phillips, Chief Executive of The Almshouse Association said: “This is a great example of philanthropy and fantastic that all these years later there is a legacy of still being able to give gifts at Christmas.
“The benefactor, I think, would be so delighted that his gift ‘gives on giving’ pleasure.”
Due to the number of residents growing from 10,183 in 1957 to 36,000 today, the fund can now only support gifts for those over the age of 90.
Linda Clayton, Clerk to the Trustees, said: “They have clocked up many years of living here between them which is a testament to residents living longer in the strong communities which are so often found in almshouses.
“I wonder what the benefactor would have thought of so many almshouse residents living into their nineties today.”
Each resident received a £15 M&S gift voucher. One resident, Elsie Corby, said she will use the voucher to buy a keepsake to pass on to her grandchildren with the story of where it came from.
Another resident, Eva Allen said: “I think it’s a wonderful thing. Thank you very much to the person who gave the money all those years ago. How very kind.”
The Almshouse Association will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year and the charity hopes that it can continue the tradition.
Mr Phillips said: “It is not always realised we are one of the largest specialist providers of low cost community housing in the country with a unique model that has lasted a thousand years.
“We like to focus on each and every resident as part of their local community, giving them social interaction to avoid isolation and providing them with a sense of inclusion and wellbeing.”
Pictured: Residents Elsie Corby, Viv Grindall, Linda Clayton (Clerk), Eva Allen, Dora Rogers, Joyce Doughty, Sharon Staples (Warden), Eve Baker, Doris Stannard.
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