Ex-club president inspires £1 million donation Helen Ruddock, who passed away in 2015 aged 96, was inspired by the work of the charity that she bequeathed her money to a fund which supports sanitation projects in Africa.

Friendship inspires £1 million Rotary donation. Inset: Helen Ruddock
Friendship inspires £1 million Rotary donation. Inset: Helen Ruddock.

The former president of Rotary Club Halstead’s (UK, District 1240) friendship with a teacher has helped secure a donation of about £1 million to the Rotary Foundation UK.

Helen Ruddock, who passed away in 2015 aged 96, was so inspired by the work of the charity that she bequeathed her money to a fund which supports projects to provide clean water and sanitation.

The $1.25 million donation should help hundreds of families in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before making the donation, Helen’s only relationship to the foundation came through former president and pupil Mike Harrington-Spier, who showed her valuable work carried out by Rotary, both in the UK and throughout the world.

Mike, a former pupil of Helen’s and a long-standing friend, said: “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. Helen was thrifty and prudent with finances but so generous as person.

“During her long life she helped so many to fulfil their promise 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.”

The low administration costs and the fact her legacy will be ring-fenced and used for a cause close to her heart appealed to Helen, who lived in Bury St Edmunds.

In line with her wishes, the earnings from the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund will exclusively fund water and sanitation projects to improve the provision of clean water and hygiene practices in Africa. 

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RI Director Bharat Pandya is Treasurer for Rotary International for 2020-21, when Holgar Knaack will be RI President, JohritaSolari will be the Vice President and Stephanie Urchick, the Executive Committee Chair.