Members of Warwick Rotary Club – celebrating their 50th anniversary this year – have been given a fascinating insight into the work of one of Warwick’s oldest charities, the Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler.
Terry Brown, finance chairman of the charity, was guest speaker at the Rotary club’s regular lunch at the Hilton Hotel, where he talked about the history of the charity, which today has assets of £5 million and makes grants most years of some £50,000 for ‘relief in need’ in the town.
For example, Myton Hospice, Lord Leycester Hospital and Warwick Apprenticing. It also has 14 alms houses in Castle Hill and Bowling Green Street with 17 residents.
Mr Brown said that Thomas Oken was a wealthy cloth merchant who formed the charity in 1571, having already helped establish the King Henry VIII charity – which makes grants to schools, churches and Warwick town.
He said that Nicholas Eyffler, another prominent and wealthy citizen who was a friend of Thomas Oken, established a similar charity to Oken, and the two were eventually amalgamated.
“Throughout their lives they were beset by dangers and disturbed by great upheavals. They lived through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth,” said Mr Brown. “It was a dangerous world to live in and surely no lifetimes have spanned a period of more sustained or violent change, time of sudden terror, torture, executions and burnings.
Mr Brown, who is also chairman of Warwick Apprenticing Charity, was thanked by Rotary president Jonathan Wassall, who is also clerk to the trustees of the King Henry VIII Endowed Trust.
Anyone interested in joining the Rotary club, which has more than 30 members and meets for lunch every Wednesday, should contact Mr Wassall on 07768 238916.
Warwick Rotary president Jonathan Wassall (left) with Terry Brown from the Thomas Oken charity.