The Hedon Haven Trustees dispensed their annual charitable donations at Hedon Town Hall on Monday evening (18th Jan 2016). But this was a very special meeting, being the first time in 30 years that the cheques have been presented in public. Normally, the cheques are sent out in the post. The event, therefore, was a fantastic opportunity for the beneficiaries to actually meet their philanthropic donors.
Altogether there were nine good causes benefiting from a combined total of £3,900:
The town’s churches, St. Augustine’s, Hedon Catholic, Hedon Methodist and New Hope (formerly New Life /Pentecostal) churches were all cheque recipients. So too were the Hedon Scouts, Hedon Guides, the town’s Army Cadet Force, the Hedon Bellringers and Hedon Museum.
The Hedon Haven Trust distribute funds every year to good causes that benefit the people of Hedon and have done so since the charity was established in 1970. However, the Hedon Haven Trust is the successor body to a much older institution in the town – the Hedon Haven Commissioners – as Haven Trust Chairman Geoffrey Norris explained:
Set up in 1774 to manage the Hedon waterways the Haven Commissioners organisation accrued its initial wealth through levying tolls for the transportation of coal, timber and other goods through the area. The Haven Commissioners continued in existence for 200 years, but wound up becoming the charitable Hedon Haven Trust when the waterways silted up and the Hedon Haven closed.
The Trust now uses the accrued interest on its funds to make its annual charitable donations.
As well as its annual disbursement of funds, the Hedon Haven Trustees also hold a general business meeting once each year. This annual meeting is marked by drinking of the ‘Hedon Punch’ whose secret recipe has been handed down through the generations of Commissioners, and also the meeting warrants smoking of special historic clay pipes!
The Hedon Haven Trust and its traditions symbolise and represent a link with the unique history of the ancient borough. But it’s also very modern in its support of current community groups in the town.