Get to know Colyer-Fergusson’s board of trustees in our “Meet the Trustees” blog series. First off, we hear from our Chairman, Nicholas Fischer.
What drew you to working with the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust?
I had known Sir James Colyer-Fergusson for many years (he was best man at my parents’ wedding). Like James, I have always been extremely interested in churches and keen to support both their fabric repair and their important community activities. This is something that has formed a core part of the Colyer-Fergusson Trust’s charitable giving since its inception.
Although Sir James is no longer with us, the “family feel” of the trust is still maintained and is a crucial part of our ethos and culture.
How long have you been a Trustee?
Since September 1998.
What is your background?
I have been a solicitor since 1985, working in private practice in the City, specialising in banking, finance and restructuring law with a focus on transactional work. Before that I was educated at Harrow and then Oriel College, Oxford. In my gap year, I taught in a state sponsored ex-mission Boys’ School in Kapenguria (Chewoyet School) in North- West Kenya. I learnt a lot about life during what was an exhilarating and special phase of my life.
What is your connection to Kent?
I was brought up in Kent in Sevenoaks and returned to Kent in 1998. I live in a small village near Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. Kent is much more lively now than it used to be when I was growing up.
Do you have a highlight from your time as a Trustee?
There have been many interesting times and wonderful projects. I have really enjoyed visiting many churches and charities; and meeting participants in the various projects we have supported.
My two highlights are helping to achieve the building of the MACH (Marsh Academy Community Hub) in New Romney and supporting both the buildings and the outreach work of the nuns at St Mildred’s Abbey, Minster in Thanet. These projects were and remain inspirational to me.
What is your favourite spot in Kent to visit?
That’s a difficult one as there are so many! I would like to get to know much better the whole of the Cinque Ports coastline and the Romney Marsh area.
I would always encourage a visitor to Kent to visit Ightham Mote, where Sir James Colyer-Fergusson grew up and walk around Knole Park.
I also recommend watching the setting sun from Ide Hill. I know each of these places does me the power of good and are in easy reach of home.
What do you still hope to achieve as a Trustee?
I hope to help make the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust even more relevant than it already is and to maintain its position as one of the foremost independent Kent-based charities.
As a Trustee, I will continue to strive to make a real difference to the lives of the people of Kent, in particular through our work helping young people by giving them the chance of a step-up in life.
Most of us don’t realise just how lucky we are. The grant applications we receive make for very humbling reading.
Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust was established in 1969 by Sir James Colyer-Fergusson. Since then, the Trustees have made grants in his honour to preserve beautiful Kent churches, promote musical and academic excellence and support local communities . In recent years the Trust has made grants to improve the quality of life of local people by funding community projects that tackle poverty and social exclusion. It has also supported the sustainability of local churches and in particular their role as an important community resource. The trustees regularly review and revise their funding policies to ensure that Trust money continues to be well spent.
Find us online: www.cfct.org.uk