The family of Rutland County Council leader Roger Begy have set up a charity in his memory.
Coun Begy, a popular figure in the Rutland community, lost his short battle with cancer in February. He was 72.
Since his death, his family including widow Sandy, sons Nick and Greg, daughters-in-law Michelle and Polly and grandson Will have been determined to honour his memory in some way and cope with their grief.
Nick was even elected unopposed to his father’s Greetham ward seat on the county council – a seat Roger had held since 2003 when he became leader of Rutland County Council. Since his death, Terry King, who served as Roger’s deputy and was a close friend, has become leader of the council.
Now the family have set up The Roger Begy Memorial Trust and are in the throes of planning their first fundraising event in October, which as well as raising the first funds, will also officially launch the registered charity.
The charity will have two aims – firstly to give either full or partial grants to children to help with either school tuition or additional equipment and books; and secondly to help young people up to the age of 21 secure apprenticeship opportunities if they are not going into further education.
Roger, who was a qualified geography teacher, was the first chairman of the Lincolnshire and Rutland Learning and Skills Council and in 2008 was appointed regional chairman for the East Midlands. It was for this work that he received an OBE for services to further education – an honour he was extremely proud of for a cause close to his heart.
His daughter-in-law Michelle, who lives in Oakham with husband Nick and son Will, said: “The trust has been set up to do the work that Roger couldn’t when we lost him. Education was such a massive part of Roger – he was passionate about making sure young people got the best opportunities.
“There was still so much he wanted to achieve and do and part of that is Nick becoming a councillor to carry on his work but as a family, we know the trust is something Roger would have supported.
“It is an idea that is helping us all to cope with our grief but it’s also something that we’re excited about and although it’s nerve-wracking, we’re looking forward to seeing it develop.”
Rutland County Council is aware and is supportive of the trust and the council’s portfolio holder for safeguarding and young people Richard Foster has a position on the charity’s committee along with Roger’s immediate family members.
The family are targeting raising about £15,000 a year and are looking to set up a website and Facebook page before the end of the year, with a view to taking applications for grants at the beginning of next year.
Tickets are on sale for the first fundraising event for the trust – a ball at Barnsdale Lodge on Saturday, October 22, which will officially launch the Roger Begy Memorial Trust. Tickets cost £60 and include a pre-arrival drink and three-course meal. There will also be a charity auction to raise further funds. Anyone who wishes to purchase individual tickets, corporate tables or donate auction prizes, is invited to contact Michelle Begy by calling her on 07801568732 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.