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Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr/Methodist College Belfast Facebook
Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr/Methodist College Belfast Facebook
UK News

Former student leaves Methodist College £13.5m in his will

A former pupil of Methodist College, Belfast, Northern Ireland, has left the school a £13.5m legacy in his will.

Richard Henry (Prescott) Kerr was a boarder in the 1940s at the college, known as Methody, which is one of Northern Ireland's biggest schools with around 1800 pupils.

Principal Scott Naismith told Premier, that although they knew a donation was to be made to the school, they had no idea of its scale.

"Prescott (as he was known to family) had been in contact with the college a good number of years ago, to inform us that he wanted to make a significant donation. And, and at that time, he thought it might be in the order of two, three million pounds. He loved his time at Methody, he benefited from the education and the care that he got while he was boarding here just after the Second World War. And he wanted to do something that would have an impact in the lives of pupils currently in college, but also future generations as well.

"Like recognizing the importance that if you invest in education, you invest in the development of individuals, and hopefully then investing in the development of society for the better as well."

Naismith added those at the college have experienced a range of emotions following the legacy: "We were excited, we were humbled and moved by the generosity and are extremely grateful. The donation is going to allow us to embark on projects and development work that otherwise would have been inconceivable."

Prescott came from a farming background and after attending Methodist College Belfast went on to study at Queen's University Belfast, later attending Cornell University in New York. He went on to become a founder of a business, Newtech, in 1985 that specialised in nutrients in agricultural feed.

He died in Dartmouth on 24 January 2019.

Naismith explained to Premier exactly how the money will be used: "First of all, some of the funds will be used for the promotion of mental health and well-being and providing additional counselling services, learning support and study services for pupils, training staff and also providing support to parents as well.  

"We've got a number of capital projects that we're now able to take forward sooner than we expected. So improving the learning environment and also enhancing opportunities for pupils of modest means to ensure that any pupil who comes to the college, there are no financial barriers to accessing educational extracurricular opportunities that all of the pupils benefit from," he said.

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