HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds have been left to a string of East Lancashire charities by a late businessman. 

Harry Frost, who died on December 11, asked if James Neary, who owns Neary's General Store in Helmshore, would distribute the £400,000 estate among local charities on his behalf, when the time came. 

Mr Frost was born in Waterfoot, where his parents ran a sweet and haberdashery shop near the Waterfoot Liberal Club.

He was a master craftsman in joinery and electrical drawing and later went on to qualify as a teacher, working at schools across Manchester.

Mr Frost and his wife Sheila, who was head-in-charge at Olive House, Bacup, lived in Bolton, Irwell Vale, Waterfoot and finally at Willow Tree Avenue, Rawtenstall.

Mr Frost was also a councillor for Crawshawbooth and a Grand Master at the Old Hazeldene Masonic Lodge.

Mr Neary chose charities mainly in the Rossendale area who are supported or managed by volunteers, in the hope that Harry and Sheila’s legacy will help others.

One of those charities was Rossendale Hospice. Harry had accessed their 'Befriending Service' after the death of his beloved wife Sheila.

Hospice volunteer Maureen was carefully selected to become Harry’s 'befriender' and they both enjoyed the weekly visits she paid to him in his home.

Volunteer befrienders are matched with someone looking to access the service, who will regularly visit an older person or someone who is isolated and lonely in their own home or phone them for a chat.

It was Mr Frost's wish that some of the proceeds from his estate be donated to charity and Rossendale Hospice were "astounded" when they discovered that he had bequeathed an extremely generous legacy to them, enabling others in the valley to benefit from their services as he did.

James Neary said: "Harry would be very happy to see the benefit of his legacy within all these marvellous charities and if it can help others then his wishes have been fulfilled."

Chief executive of Rossendale Hospice, Irene Smith, said: "We are constantly amazed by the support of our local community.

"It is really difficult to balance the books and like everyone, the last couple of years have had a big effect on our fundraising and shops income generation.

"Suffice to say that Harry’s legacy bequest will be a huge help. So on behalf of everyone at the hospice, particularly our patients I would like to say a sincere big thank you."

Befriending co-ordinator Amy O’Connor added: "Befriending provides a valuable lifeline for those who are elderly and socially isolated.

"Volunteering just one hour of your time weekly gives the opportunity for that individual to feel socially included."

Other local charities to benefit from Mr Frost's estate:

  • Rossendale Harriers 
  • Civic Pride Rawtenstall 
  • Civic Pride Haslingden
  • Bury Standard 4 Group
  • Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team
  • M3 Project
  • Cotton Shed
  • Bury Samaritans
  • White Horse Project
  • Rossendale Rays
  • East Lancashire Downs Syndrome Association
  • Rossendale Memory Choir
  • Rossendale PHAB
  • Jack’s Club
  • Parkwood Tennis Club
  • Rossendale Foodbank
  • Waterwell Foundation
  • Friends Reminisce
  • Dementia Friendly
  • Activities R Us
  • Rossendale Gateway Open House
  • Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary & Veterans in Communities