Philanthropist's 125th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 17:24 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:10 10 May 2010
THE lasting legacy of a man described as Saffron Walden s greatest benefactor was celebrated on the 125th anniversary of his death. Victorian philanthropist George Stacey Gibson was a wealthy banker who gave away most of his money and whose generosity is
THE lasting legacy of a man described as Saffron Walden's greatest benefactor was celebrated on the 125th anniversary of his death.
Victorian philanthropist George Stacey Gibson was a wealthy banker who gave away most of his money and whose generosity is still evident throughout the town.
After his death in 1883, and the foundation of the Gibson Charity a year later, Mr Gibson's estate continues to make a difference to the people of Saffron Walden.
His life - and 125 years of the Gibson Charity - was celebrated at the Abbey Road almshouses on Friday.
Speaking at the event Saffron Walden's MP Sir Alan Haselhurst said that the life of George Stacey Gibson could be an inspiration to us all.
"The name Gibson is well written in the town and it is a name that is associated with philanthropy and public service," said Sir Alan. "His example is followed by everyone who volunteers or serves on the council.
"There are many people in the town who honour that tradition of public service - a tradition that is exemplified by the almshouses today."
Almshouses have existed in Saffron Walden since 1400 and it is partly due to the Gibson Charity that they still play an important role in the community.
Trustee of the Gibson Charity Diana Hoy said: "It's lovely to see that so many people want to come and celebrate the life of this great man.
"He was a banker - one of the founders of Barclays Bank - and he did make a lot of money, but he made money so that he could share it with everyone."
Also present at the celebration was town mayor, Cllr Mike Hibbs, and Chairman of the Almshouse Association Simon Potts who said that the Saffron Walden almshouses were "a reflection of what happens to almshouses if people look after them".
Jeremy Collingwood, author of the recently published book Mr Saffron Walden - the life and times of George Stacey Gibson, was also in attendance.
In his book Mr Collingwood describes how, in today's money, Gibson left more than £23 million to the people of Saffron Walden.