The Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom receives gift of £1.25 million from accomplished pianist and teacher
The Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom receives gift of £1.25 million from accomplished pianist and teacher

Helen Ruddock of Suffolk, England bequeathed a generous donation in excess of £1.25 million to The Rotary Foundation. Having passed away in 2015 at the age of 96, and although not a Rotarian herself, Mrs Ruddock had a passion for improving the lives of others.

Her introduction to Rotary and The Rotary Foundation was made by a close friend, Mike Harrington-Spier, who was a member of the Rotary Club of Halstead for a number of years.

Complying with Mrs Ruddock’s wishes, the spendable earnings from her gift, known as the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund, will exclusively fund charitable service projects in the area of water and sanitation to improve the provision of clean water and hygiene practices in communities across Africa through the Rotary Global Grants programme.

Despite not being a member of Rotary, Mrs Ruddock exhibited many of the values of Rotary throughout her life with her involvement in her local community and by devoting her time and talents to help others.

Music was central to her life and for many years she split her time between tending the farm her parent’s had owned and teaching piano, after being educated at institutions including the Royal College of Music.

She married her beloved husband Ted in 1956, and after his death in 1970, she went on to become a highly respected piano teacher, sharing her knowledge at South Lee School in Bury St. Edmunds, Fairstead House School in Newmarket and Riverwalk School, where she worked with children with severe learning difficulties.

Mike, who was a former pupil of Mrs Ruddock, can certainly voucher for her ability to inspire her pupil’s to get the best out of themselves, “She made you work to achieve your potential, which was often more than we thought it was. She was able to get her students into some of the most prestigious of universities and colleges.”

He also describes her as a very money-wise lady, “Helen was thrifty and prudent with finances but so generous as person. During her long life she helped so many to fulfil their promises and it is typical of her that she wanted her legacy to help those families who suffer the most. Although modest by nature I am sure she would have been quietly proud of her achievement.”

“Helen knew the value of money and how it could change the lives of so many people if used wisely. She knew the money was in safe hands with Rotary and will make a tremendous difference.”

The Rotary Foundation this year celebrates its centennial anniversary. Over the last 100 years, the Foundation has funded over $3 billion worth of projects in Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus in communities around the world.

Alison Budge from Ashtons Legal, who provided legal advice to Mrs Ruddock said: “We are seeing more and more clients leaving money to good causes in their Wills, and know how much these charities rely on legacy gifts. I knew Helen for many years both as a friend and a client and I greatly appreciated her lively character and indefatigable spirit. Helen was very explicit in her wishes and it was a pleasure assisting her in setting up the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund.”

The Rotary Foundation could not be more pleased to honour Mrs Ruddock as an esteemed member of the Arch Klumph Society, formed in 2004 to recognise The Rotary Foundation’s highest tier of donors.

 

Published: Monday 8th May 2017

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