A Lasting Gift

9–15 September is Remember A Charity week, which encourages everyone to think about leaving a gift in their will to their chosen charity.

As Diabetes UK depends largely on this type of fundraising, balance looks at some of the gifts received over the years…

It’s fair to say that thinking about what happens to us and our belongings after we die isn’t really something we like to spend much time dwelling on. But writing a will gives you the control to leave your valued possessions to people you care about and/or to organisations you support. It gives you the chance to leave a lasting legacy and have a positive influence on the future.

Gifts in wills are very special to Diabetes UK, with more than one third of the charity’s total donations coming from them. They’ve been very much part of the charity’s history and are a vital part of its future. In 1935, Dr RD Lawrence wrote in the Diabetic Journal – now known as balance – to supporters about the importance of gifts in wills. He wasn’t wrong – Diabetes UK simply wouldn’t be here without them.

They’ve helped achieve so many milestones – take research as an example. In 1986, the charity awarded a Clinical Development Grant to Professor Roy Taylor to test the feasibility of using a retinal camera to screen people with diabetes for retinopathy. This new technique has led to improvements in eye screening and the availability now of regular screening for all people with diabetes in the UK. Just imagine what other breakthroughs the future may hold if the charity can continue to invest in groundbreaking research.

Giving a gift

Diabetes UK receives many wonderful gifts. As well as looking after their family and friends, supporters have kindly left a percentage to Diabetes UK. And, it’s not always just a percentage of money. The charity has also received:

• jewellery
• stamp collections
• figurines
• return flights from Blackpool to Barcelona.

Gifts like these are auctioned off, which help to raise valuable funds. Gifts also continue to come in from television royalties from many
shows, including Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Secret Army, Dempsey and Makepeace, Upstairs, Downstairs, and Grange Hill – to name just a few!

Take a moment

September is an important month for Diabetes UK as it works on an awareness week (9–15 September) with Remember A Charity. This year,
the focus is on moments – taking a moment to think about leaving a gift to charity. Clare Waldron, Diabetes UK’s Legacies Manager, says: “In our busy lives, people have so much to think about and the thought of writing or updating a will may not be the top priority, so we’re asking all of our supporters to perhaps take a moment to think about the importance of donations left in wills to charity.”

Earlier this year, Remember A Charity also launched the quirky Café de Mort campaign. Supported by TV presenter and foodie Gregg
Wallace, Café de Mort served a range of deadly delicacies to encourage more people to leave a gift to charity in their will – after all, nobody knows the importance of having a will more than someone who could be about to eat their last meal.

Delicacies included perilous fugu (pufferfish), which contains lethal levels of tetrodotoxin and there’s no known antidote. Guests also
tucked into the world’s hottest chilli (ghost chilli), and two dishes containing hydrogen cyanide. Guests rounded off their night with a trio of potential toxins – aflatoxin, theobromine and myristicin skilfully presented in the peanut, cacao and nutmeg sweetmeats dessert.

Clare says: “Café de Mort really helped us not to focus on the doom and gloom that people seem to think of when charities talk about gifts in wills. It’s about the personal choices people make and really thinking about what is important to them – ‘Who do I really want to look after, and which are the causes that mean so much to me?’”

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift in your will to Diabetes UK or would like a free information guide, call the Legacies team on 020 7424 1000 or email legacies@diabetes.org.uk

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