Fulfilled living in later life

Monday 25th January 2021

Leaving a legacy - one man's story of God's recycling process

Life as a Home Visitor at Evington Home, and on the Committee at Wellsborough Pilgrim Home, inspired Richard Champness to pledge a legacy gift in his Will. Alexandra Davis chatted to Richard to find out more

Pilgrims Friend Legacy Richard Champness

When I got in touch with Richard Champness, 81, I was thrilled to receive a prompt email back accepting my invitation to chat and suggesting that we FaceTime as Richard is usually accompanied by his “trusty iPad”. As the video call began, with me in my spare room in south east London and Richard at home in Lancaster, we quickly fell to chatting about Richard’s passion for the work of Pilgrims’ Friend Society and his decision to leave a legacy in his Will to the charity.

Despite having grown up going to church and knowing through that time that God was near, Richard did not come to a living faith until he saw the love of God in action as an adult.

Richard’s wife Geertje, who he met when he was running walking tours on Dartmoor and she was a cook learning English, was diagnosed with cancer when she was pregnant. After a Christian doctor visited and prayed for healing, and good medical care, Geertje was healed from cancer when their baby son, David, was very young. “God said He cared, and He did. It was amazing grace,” says Richard.

Richard and Geertje moved to Leicester and Richard began to visit the Evington Home from about 1970 onwards. “I started as an occasional visitor and then began to take services in the home before becoming a member of Home Committee at Wellsborough Pilgrim Home in Nuneaton, which is now closed,” Richard told me. We calculated that he and Geertje, who died three years ago, now been connected to the work of

Pilgrims’ Friend Society for 50 years! “At Evington, I particularly remember one resident, a medical doctor, who really opened up to me. We would talk about his life, and he would play the piano and minister to the others in the home,” Richard recalls. “The care I saw on many occasions was just lovely, practical and of a very high standard, but it’s the loving care that supplements it which was just lovely”.

Reflecting on his decision to leave a gift in Will to Pilgrims’ Friend Society, Richard said, “It’s not my money, it’s the Lord’s money.” As a widower with no dependants and having been blessed by God financially, Richard is now looking to place that blessing somewhere else. Richard is particularly concerned for the welfare of older people in the North West where there are no Pilgrims’ Friend Society homes. He has chosen to leave his gift to our Renewal Programme.

Pilgrims Friend Richard and Gea Champness

Richard understands the vision of our Renewal Programme, sharing with me from Psalm 92:14 and the conviction that older people, our elders, should be honoured and encouraged to live fulfilled and flourishing lives in their later years. It’s
Richard’s hope and expectation that the Lord will use the financial blessings he has been given to bless others as they age: “Legacies are part of God’s recycling process – money recycled by those blessed by health and finances into caring for those who need it.”

By pledging to leave a legacy gift in his Will, Richard is playing his part to make sure that Pilgrims’ Friend Society can continue to offer Christian care to older people for years to come.

Three kinds of legacy gifts:

• A share of your estate after gifts have been given to loved ones

• A specific sum of money which you stipulate

• A specific item, usually of value

We recommend you discuss your Will and the type of gift you might like to leave to Pilgrims’ Friend Society with your solicitor

If you would like to consider leaving a legacy gift, visit our Legacy page.

Or get in touch with Alexandra on 0300 303 8407, alexandra.davis@pilgrimsfriend.org.uk