Town’s oldest charity brings a cup of cheer

The Hollon Trust who provide an annual tea and funds for needy pensioners is re-forming.
The Hollon Trust who provide an annual tea and funds for needy pensioners is re-forming.

PLANS are in full swing for the return of an annual Morpeth charity tea — and more people are being invited to join the party.

The Herald reported earlier this year that the town’s oldest charity, the Mary Hollon Annuity and Coal Fund, was making a return after a two-year absence.

And the re-branded Mary Hollon Fund will honour its previous tradition of holding a ‘tea’ on November 5 for all of its beneficiaries.

The charity was formed by former Mayor of York Richard Hollon in 1881 in memory of his wife Mary, who was born in Morpeth.

It was to grant an annuity to 13 women and 12 men, of at least 60 years old, who had been born and lived in the borough of Morpeth or Bullers’ Green.

Each received quarterly payments of money, a tonne of coal and six pounds of beef or mutton, as well as an invitation to the Mary Hollon Tea, which was held on the anniversary of Richard and Mary’s wedding.

The event consisted of a three-course meal, including roast beef, an address by a Protestant minister and entertainment.

The re-formed committee has been trying to contact all existing annuitants to invite them to this year’s tea and there are plans to award them other benefits when the numbers are finalised.

So far, 56 annuitants have come forward, but there is scope for about 70 to be accepted.

Now the committee is inviting applications to the fund from anybody aged 75 and over who has been a resident of the town for a reasonable period of time.

Chairman Derek Thompson said: “We have been working since November to get everything sorted and it is going quite nicely.

“Now we are requesting names of people who may like to be considered for Mary Hollon Fund annuitants. We have 56 already, but we would like about 70.

“At one time you had to have been born and bred in Morpeth to be considered, but we have changed that so if you have lived in Morpeth for a while you can apply.

“If we get more than 70 applications there is going to be a scoring system applied and if you are accepted, you are an annuitant for life.”

The new committee consists of Mr Thompson, Andrew Tebbutt as Secretary, Simon Pringle as Treasurer and trustees Annie Boulton, Cynthia Livesey, Barbara Pringle and Ron Forster.

Anyone wishing to apply to the fund can contact Mr Thompson on 01670 515419.