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Belfast’s Methodist College receives £13.5m donation from past pupil

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Past Methody pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr has left £13.5m to his old school.

Past Methody pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr has left £13.5m to his old school.

Former Methody pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr

Former Methody pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr

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Past Methody pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr has left £13.5m to his old school.

Methodist College in Belfast is celebrating the largest ever donation in its 150 year history, with a past pupil leaving an astonishing £13.5m.

In a special school Assembly video, Methody Principal Scott Naismith told pupils about the “transformational donation” legacy from former pupil Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr.

Known as Prescott to friends of family, he was the youngest of five from a farming family and boarded at Methody in the 1940s.

Excelling in his studies, he also enjoyed rowing and rugby before earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Queen’s University.

After continuing in his education at the prestigious Cornell University in the United States, Prescott returned to Northern Ireland where he worked in agricultural foods with Banbridge company Coburn’s and later set up his own business in 1985.

Described as a deeply caring individual, Mr Naismith said Prescott retired shortly afterwards to care for his wife Bea.

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On January 24 last year, he passed away peacefully at Hynetown House in Dartmouth.

“Prescott cared deeply about those he loved, and gave generously of his time and himself to support and care for them,” Mr Naismith said.

“He also wanted to leave behind a legacy that would help to ensure that pupils who attended Methody would be supported in and out of the classroom to thrive and succeed.

“Thanks to the generosity of Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr we are celebrating the largest single donation to this school in its 150 year history.

“A legacy worth £13.5m to support the life and work of the College.”

After discussions with representatives of the Prescott estate, and in keeping with his interests, the Methody governors have agreed that a portion of the funds will be used for pupil mental health and wellbeing.

Contributions will also be made to capital development projects and “enhancing the opportunities for pupils of modest means”.

Mr Naismith added the donation has been “judiciously invested in an ethical fund” to ensure the legacy will benefit pupils for generations to come.

“Prescott’s kindness will have a significant impact on Methody, allowing us to embark on development work, the realisation of which would otherwise have been inconceivable.”

Mr Naismith said current and future generations of pupils at the college would benefit from the generosity and that the entire Methody community was “profoundly grateful”

In the word’s of the school song, he added the donation would help Methody flourish “now and in the future”.


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