A generous history

THANKS: Recipients with Sandhurst Trustees employees. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

THANKS: Recipients with Sandhurst Trustees employees. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Bendigo community has inherited the rich generosity of an ancestral couple.

For more than 30 years Bendigo community groups have received grants from the will of Frances and Harold Abbott with the help of Sandhurst Trustees.

Sandhurst Trustees hold the wills.

Since the inception of The Frances and Harold Abbott Foundation in 1983 the program has supported thousands of community groups.

It all began out of a love of the Sandhurst community.

The pair were pioneers in the community and added to the building of the gold rush town in many ways.

Sandhurst Trustees Chairman Jenny Dawson shared the story of the Abbott lineage with grant recipients.

"Mr Abbott was a long time director of the Sandhurst Building Society and a Director of Sandhurst Trustees for 32 years," she said.

"After returning to Australia from World War I, Harold became a very successful businessman, including his involvement in the family business Abbott Supply, which his grandfather established during the gold rush.

"Frances was also a remarkable woman in her own right, a trained pharmacist at a time when female representation in this profession was rare."

Ms Dawson said the generation of Abbotts spanned many leading roles in Bendigo.

She said when Sandhurst Trustees began Harolds grand-father was the largest shareholder.

"The connection to this institution goes back very far," she said.

She said the will stipulated the money in it would be given to community based charities in the central Victorian area.

"From supporting the arts, a great interest of the Abbott family, to promoting improvements in healthcare and education, I'm sure France and Harold would be pleased to see how their legacy has continued," Ms Dawson said.

"We congratulate the successful recipients and look forward to seeing their projects bring benefits to our local communities."

She said she hoped the grants would continue to honour their living memory even though they were no longer living.

grace.serpell@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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