A CHARITY Trust set up by a rich spinster, which has dished out more than £1.7million to the needy in Darwen, is looking for more beneficiaries.

The WM & BW Lloyd Charity Trust was set up by Betty Lloyd and her brother William in 1974 to provide for those who lived, or were educated, in the old borough of Darwen.

The siblings made their money in the cotton industry and, with no family to pass their money on to, they set up a fund with £15,000.

When Betty died in June 1981, aged 87, she was dubbed 'The fairygodmother' of Darwen after leaving £250,000 to the trust in her will.

Since then, a staggering £1,718,742 has been given out for medical equipment, sports equipment, sport training costs, church repairs, parks improvements and educational grants.

In 2007 the trust donated £750 to buy a new heart defibrillator and other donations have helped pay for all-weather courts at Darwen Tennis Club and a new heating system for Dawen Old People's Welfare.

Grants of between £50 and £7,500 are decided by four trustees - retired solicitor David Gordon Watson, retired chartered accountant John Jacklin, solicitor Jason Slack and Dorothy Parsons, who works with a Christian charity dealing with families.

They work with four committees, made up of a chairman and two co-opted members, specialising in education, medical, social amenities and social disadvantage.

Applications are referred to the relevant committee for consideration and the trustees meet four times a year to consider the requests and make grants.

The trust has absorbed other charitable funds over the years including The T P Davies Fund, the Darwen War Memorial, Sick Poor Fund, The Peter Pan fund, Darwen Disabled Funds and the Darwen Probation Volunteer After Care funds.

Mr Jacklin, secretary and treasurer, said: "The income is from the dividends received from the investments made with the funds that were left to the trust by Billy and Betty.

"The trust is what is known as an endowed charity so the original capital cannot be spent only the interest it generates. We do not receive any income from any other source. Every application is considered on its own merits and information is treated in the strictest confidence.

"For individuals we ask for applications to be supported by a third party such as a social worker, doctor, minister or someone who knows them and can support their application for help."

To find out more, call John on 01254 771367 or email johnjacklin@homecall.co.uk.