Let your love for open spaces live on with a gift in your will

Keep us fighting to protect open spaces long into the future

Bennett bequest

Bennett bequest: organising our archives

Having existed for more than 150 years the society has a massive archive.  Some is stored in the House of Lords and some at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading (MERL).  Thanks to Colin Bennett, who has made us a significant gift in his lifetime, we have been able to pass some more recent archives to MERL and to provide the resources for MERL to employ a professional to catalogue and publicise them.  This will mean that the archives are protected in the right conditions and will be available for the public to use for research. In 2021 we launched a new website that features almost 1,000 lantern-slides from the archive, again with generous support from Colin.

Candy bequest

Candy bequest: finding lost commons

Thanks to the generosity of our member the late Jack Candy, who was an active defender of commons and open spaces in Southampton, we have created a new post of commons re-registration officer.  This legacy is enabling us to research commons which are eligible for registration in nine pioneer areas in England.  Once registered the land is protected from encroachment and development, and the public has the right to walk and, in certain cases, to ride over the whole area.  Time is short as the work must be done in many of these areas by December 2020, so we are focusing first on potential commons in Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.

We are also planning to spend some of this legacy on the appointment of a new member of staff to work on public-path cases and to support our local correspondents.

Bradbury bequest

Bradbury bequest: signposts in Gloucestershire

The public paths around Cheltenham in Gloucestershire continue to be well marked, thanks to the farsightedness of Cheltenham benefactor Herbert Lucas Bradbury.  Mr Bradbury died in 1959 leaving £1,500 on trust for erecting and maintaining signposts on public paths within a six-mile radius of Cheltenham Post Office.  The local Ramblers worked with the society and Gloucestershire County Council to ensure that paths were signposted with a special emblem celebrating the Bradbury bequest.  That money has all been spent now, but there are numerous new, repaired and replaced signposts to show for it, and Mr Bradbury’s bequest has been of considerable help to path users in Gloucestershire.

Emery bequest

Emery bequest

Our member John Emery has died aged 90. He has left us a generous gift of £10,000.

Our general secretary recalls: 'John was a member for many years and I remember him in particular for his feisty campaign against a path closeure through Ridgeway School at Plympton St Mary. He lost in the end but only after a long battle. He was incorrigible, and we miss him'.

The map shows just some of the projects that legacy gifts to the society have funded.

Our general secretary remembers two members who left generous legacies in this article.

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Did you know that one of the most lasting ways you can protect the open spaces you love for all to enjoy for generations to come is with a gift in your will to the Open Spaces Society?

It's really easy to do and won't cost you anything now, but you will be ensuring a safer future for our paths, commons, village greens and urban and rural spaces.

How can you make a difference for generations to come

Helping the Open Spaces Society in your will is easy. Just add the paragraph in the box below to a new will or as a codicil to an existing will, filling in the sum or percentage. If you intend to leave a substantial legacy to the Open Spaces Society, we advise you to consult a solicitor so that your wishes can be properly described in you will.

Your gift to the society will help to ensure that future generations will enjoy commons, open spaces and paths, in town and country throughout England and Wales.

I leave to the Open Spaces Society (registered charity no
1144840), 25a Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA
the sum of £....... or ...% or my residuary estate
free of tax, and declare that the signature of the Open
Spaces Society’s treasurer or other authorised officer of
the Open Spaces Society shall be sufficient discharge to
my trustees for this legacy.

We can't save open spaces in the future without you

As a charity with no government funding, the Open Spaces Society depends on the generosity of people like you to continue it's vital work. With subscriptions and donations from members generally only covering about half our running costs, we are particularly dependent on legacies which enable us to punch above our weight.

It is thanks to the far-sightedness and magnanimity of past members and supporters who have remembered us with a gift in their will that we have been able to achieve significant and lasting protection for endangered open spaces right across England and Wales.

For more information on how you can make a lasting difference with a gift in your will please download our legacy leaflet.

Further resources about Legacies

  • Open Spaces Society Legacy Leaflet

    We explain how you can help our charity in your will.

  • HMRC tax Relief when you donate to a charity

    Current UK government rules for charity giving.

  • Remember a charity in you will

    Useful resources for solicitors and will-writers from Remember a Charity.

  • The Money Advice Service Guide

    If you are worried about the inheritance tax that may have to be paid when you die, giving away some your money to charity in your will can reduce the bill.

  • How to subscribe to our You Tube channel

    Read our step by step guide so that you can follow our channel, share and leave comments about our film and keep up to date with future releases.

  • Will Planner

    A set of questions for you to consider when creating your will from Free Will Month.

  • Will Aid - How to take part in this scheme

    Will Aid is a special partnership between the legal profession and nine of the UK's best-loved charities.

  • The Law Society Gazette - Charity Explorer Directory

    A list of charities that are featured in the latest printed Law Society Gazette Charity and Appeals Directory and Spring Legacy Appeals Directory.