First islanders benefit from 93-year-old's £1m gift

Mr Collister Mr Collister was a keen gardener who exhibited at Laa Columb Killey

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The first major grant has been awarded from the Donald Collister Heritage Programme, established when a 93-year-old man left a £1m bequest.

Colby resident John Donald Collister left his entire estate to the Manx nation following his death in 2007.

A consultation was launched by Manx National Heritage (MNH) to see how the public would like the money spent with 114 suggestions put forward.

The first grant of £24,000 was awarded to a festival in Mr Donald's home town.

The Laa Columb Killey Committee will use the money to buy a new exhibition tent for the island's longest running parish fair.

'Wishes and interests'

A Manx National Heritage spokeswoman said it was the "largest ever donation they had received".

She added: "Discussions are continuing with a number of people in the Arbory community to ensure the bequest would be used in a way which reflected Donald Collister's wishes and interests."

According to MNH the consultation concluded that the money should be used to deliver a strong sense of community benefit, both on a national and local scale.

John Donald Collister, 93, died in 2007 in the Isle of Man

Chairman of Laa Columb Killey Ron Strathdee said: "We are delighted to see the legacy of Donald Collister being recognised for the benefit of his local community.

"Donald was a keen exhibitor of the horticultural display and supporter of Laa Columb Killey in the past."

Mr Collister worked as a painter after serving with the Manx Regiment in Crete and north Africa during World War II.

MNH first became aware it had been mentioned as a beneficiary in 2011.

The Manx Museum and National Trust will be making further announcements over the summer to confirm how future grants will be allocated.

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