Scottish Daily Mail

A million for our memorial

Sir Tom Hunter and family give £250,000 to Covid campaign

- By Vanessa Allen

PHILANTHRO­PIST Sir Tom Hunter donated an astounding £250,000 to the Daily Mail’s Remember Me campaign yesterday – taking the total raised soaring above £1million.

The Scots retail entreprene­ur said he and his family were ‘honoured’ to support the national memorial to pandemic victims at St Paul’s.

The Hunter family’s generous donation means that more than £610,000 has been raised in just seven days since the Mail launched the campaign last weekend. Combined with the funds already collected by the cathedral itself, more than £1million has been pledged towards the £2.3million needed to build the memorial at the landmark.

Sir Tom, 60, said his family wanted to donate to commemorat­e the thousands killed by the virus.

He said: ‘This has been the biggest single death toll from one cause in my lifetime. It’s an appalling tragedy that – worse still – often targeted the most vulnerable in our society.

‘It is only right and proper that we commemorat­e their loss with this special memorial, which we are honoured to support.’

Sir Tom grew up in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, and studied economics and marketing at Strathclyd­e University in the early 1980s before going on to make his fortune.

He was knighted in 2005 for his services to philanthro­py and to entreprene­urship in Scotland, and previously gave £500,000 to the Mail Force drive for laptops for school pupils during lockdown.

He donated another £100,000 to the charity’s appeal to provide supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS when the virus took hold last year.

Sir Tom, who is married to Marion and has three adult children, establishe­d the Hunter Foundation in 1998, which has raised more than £80million for charity.

He also set up the annual Kiltwalk, which holds fundraisin­g events across Scotland. All money raised

‘Honoured to support’

for charities is topped up by 50 per cent from the Hunter Foundation.

The £250,000 donation from the Hunter family came as mail continued to flood in from Mail readers supporting the cause.

Letters processed so far have raised just under £40,000, while 4,000 people have donated more than £135,000 including Gift Aid online.

Philanthro­pist Sir Michael Hintze gave £100,000 this week and Lord Sugar pledged a six-figure sum.

The first 5,000 supporters to donate £25 or more to the campaign online using the ‘Limited Edition Candle from the Daily Mail’ button will receive a free candle.

Rev Canon Jonathan Brewster, Canon Treasurer at St Paul’s, said: ‘We are immensely grateful to readers of the Daily Mail for their generous support to enable us to build a memorial for all who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the UK.

‘The hundreds of letters have been heartening to read and we at St Paul’s want to stand in solidarity with the many people of all faiths and none who are grieving the death of family and friends.’

The memorial will feature a grand oak portico engraved with the words Remember Me and a chapel inside will display screens showing a virtual book of remembranc­e. The Remember Me book was launched in May last year and bears the names and photos of more than 8,600 victims so far, submitted by their families and friends. Each person’s story is dealt with individual­ly by moderators from the St Paul’s Remember Me team, who offer support to the bereaved as they complete their entry in the book.

It is hoped the memorial will become a site of pilgrimage and solace for generation­s to come. It would be the first major addition to the cathedral in 150 years.

Lord Sugar’s pledge of a donation on Thursday came as he told the Mail about his grief over the Covid deaths of his brother and sister.

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 ??  ?? Generous: Sir Tom and Marion Hunter Inset: A Daily Mail memorial candle
Generous: Sir Tom and Marion Hunter Inset: A Daily Mail memorial candle

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