A pair of friends sorting out the estate of a Dorset care home resident have doubled the amount to be gifted to a children’s charity after hearing more about its work.
Tim Jones and John Smith lost their long-standing friend Ken Thorp, 89, in January 2023 and were appointed his executors.
In line with Ken’s wish to help charities working with children in Dorset, they originally earmarked £20,000 for Diverse Abilities, which supports young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
But after a cheque presentation with Diverse Abilities’ representatives gave the pair the chance to hear more about the charity’s work, they doubled the amount to £40,000.
Tim, Senior Buyer in the Purchasing Department of Colten Care, arranged for the presentation to take place at the care home provider’s Bourne View, next door to Diverse Abilities’ specialist Langside school.
A giant cheque highlighted the figure of £20,000 but then Tim and John got talking with Diverse Abilities’ Head of Fundraising Helen Mortimer and Chief Executive Mark Powell.
Tim said: “John and I were profoundly moved by Ken’s generosity. His wife Barbara pre-deceased him ten years ago and they didn’t have any children. He saw John and I as effectively his next-of-kin. I knew him for more than 40 years and John was his friend for more than 50.
“On reading his will and knowing he didn’t have any family, we were most surprised that he wanted the bulk of his estate to go to charities with a leaning towards children and, where possible, with a Dorset presence.
“When we met with Helen and Mark and learned more about the amazing work that Diverse Abilities does through education, therapy and nursing support for children living with some of the biggest challenges anyone could face anywhere, we knew Ken would heartily approve of a substantial increase in the amount we had originally planned. It was an easy decision for us.”
In response, Helen said: “We are honoured to receive this incredible gift from the estate of Ken Thorp. Disability charities like Diverse Abilities do not typically receive many gifts from people’s wills, so to have our work recognised in such a generous way means a lot to us. The donation will support Langside School, our specialist school providing education, therapeutic support and nursing care for children with incredibly profound physical and learning disabilities and medical needs.”
Ken was born and brought up in the East End of London and moved to Dorset in the 1960s, living in Branksome, Poole, for more than 40 years.
He ran a company, Ken Thorp Supplies Ltd, a wholesale supplier of catering equipment to trade customers such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.
The last two years of his life were spent at Colten Care’s Canford Chase care home in Western Road, Branksome.
As well as Diverse Abilities, gifts from Ken’s estate have been made to children’s charities and community causes including the neonatal unit at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, the disability sailing charity Poole Sailability and Great Ormond Street Hospital.