Local heritage community celebrates legacy of Manx benefactor

– Posted on Thursday 1st December 2022

A series of heritage projects, delivered by local groups and individuals via the legacy of a proud Manxman, have been honoured by Manx National Heritage.

An event at Castle Rushen marked the completion of projects funded by the Donny Collister Heritage Grant Fund, set up in memory of the former Colby resident, John Donald Collister (Donny), who served with the Manx Regiment during the Second World War.

Before his passing in 2007, he requested that his estate, which comprised of both cash and fixed assets including his former home, was used to preserve the heritage of the Island.

Since the Fund’s launch, Manx National Heritage has allocated funds to dozens of projects benefiting heritage activities across the Isle of Man community. Grants, which have ranged from £600 to £6,000, have improved access to various sites including the Laxey Valley Heritage Trail and the River Colby River Heritage Trail.

Demonstrating the breadth and depth of initiatives supported, the Fund allowed Donny’s 1950 Fordson F83W Van – which he used as a painter and decorator – to be brought back to life, renovated dedicatedly by Andrew Faragher and other volunteers from the Jurby Transport Museum; funded an exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of the loss of the Mona’s Queen at Dunkirk; purchased a new exhibition tent for Laa Columb Killey and carried out maintenance to the buildings and tunnel for the Great Laxey Mines Railway.

The Heritage Grant Fund has also helped a variety of local renovation projects such as the Ramsey Pier Restoration, whilst contributing to the investment in several churches across the Island, including Jurby, Colby Methodist and Old Kirk Braddan.

Manx National Heritage Trustees and staff were joined by organisations and individuals who have benefited from the Fund, to celebrate Donny’s legacy and the achievements of the heritage community in delivering these projects.

Jonathan Hall, Chairman of Manx Museum and National Trust, said:

“Since 2014 the Donny Collister Heritage Grant Fund has supported more than £200,000 in charitable gifts to the local community, providing critical funding to support and promote our Island’s rich heritage. Mr Collister’s bequest was remarkably generous and, as well as supporting Manx National Heritage’s conservation priorities, it has made many impressive projects possible around the Island, both increasing the sustainability of heritage activities and maintaining and improving access to heritage sites”.

Connie Lovel, Executive Director Manx National Heritage, added:

“With initiatives ranging from conservation and restoration works to exhibitions, books and visitor displays, Manx National Heritage has been honoured to work alongside so many members of our community in commemorating our Island’s history. All the projects will help attract visitors and boost various good causes, as well as enhance assets for the local Manx community.  It was a real pleasure to meet many of the individuals who have worked on these initiatives and to celebrate their achievements which highlight the importance of heritage across the Isle of Man”


Image caption: Donny Collister’s Fordson van (l to r) – Connie Lovel, Andrew Faragher and Jonathan Hall

For further information, please contact:
James Davis Isle of Man Advertising & PR – 01624 620440
Manx National Heritage, Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin, Manx Museum, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 3LY
Isle of Man Registered Charity No. 603

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