Huge donation to Weymouth lifeboat station
Weymouth RNLI lifeboat station was recently visited by Mr. & Mrs. Stephenson who are the Executors of the late Mrs. Jean Johnson’s will, to hand over a cheque for £235,000 which Mrs Johnson had bequeathed to the RNLI.
A similar amount was also donated to Dorset Air Ambulance.
Mrs Stephenson said of Mrs Johnson,
“Jean Patricia Johnson was born in London in 1929 as an only child. She married Michael; they never had any children of their own, however children were always their love. Jean and Michael moved into the vicarage at Toller Pocorum in 1983 which they bought from the church. They were very happy and joined in social events and fundraising activities. Jean was an amazing seamstress and needleworker; she was always knitting and creating gifts for babies and well known for knitting shawls for new mums. During a holiday to Malta, Michael was taken ill and flown home. Unfortunately, he died a week later, just two weeks after Jean’s mother had passed away. Michael had been Jean’s life and she was devastated. It seems that Jean went into a depressive state and couldn’t face going to his funeral. She chose to be left mostly to herself, although kept in contact with Michael’s family and some friends. Jean slowly withdrew from village life. However, she did get the weekly bus from the village to Dorchester and Bridport. She would chat with staff in Waitrose and started knitting for the Sue Ryder shop in Bridport. As time went on, Jean became less mobile and more reclusive, though she always had time to joke with the villagers as she waited for the bus. Some villagers helped with paying bills, dropping off shopping and delivering her weekly newspaper, all of which were left on her gate where she would leave the money to pay for them. She wouldn’t let anyone in the house and villagers became increasingly concerned when its appearance started to deteriorate. Although there were many offers of help, Jean declined them. Jean had fallen and collapsed a couple of times but refused help from any services. For the weeks leading up to Christmas, she didn’t leave the house. She would sit knitting away, whilst my daughter and I took her meals and drinks, including Christmas lunch. As the weeks went on, Jean complained of being in pain and although initially she wouldn’t let me get help, she eventually agreed for me to do so. After a visit from social services, Jean was taken into hospital where she remained for six weeks with sepsis; I visited every day. When the time came for Jean to be discharged from hospital, she could not return to the house until renovations were made. It was agreed that she would go into temporary care; she asked if I could make the necessary arrangements. I found her a small local home where she was cared for and made very comfortable. Just before the renovations were due to start, Jean asked if she could stay where she was. I therefore organised the house to be cleared and put up for sale. Jean came back to the village every year for a birthday celebration with people from the village who had helped her over the years. She always had a story to tell; often about past times in the village, her life with Michael who was clearly her best friend, and her childhood growing up in London during the war. She had an amazing sense of humour and was a very dear and loving friend who is dearly missed.”
Chrissie Paine, Weymouth RNLI lifeboat station, Lifeboat Management Group Chair said, “It was a very special day for Weymouth Lifeboat boat Station to receive the presentation cheque from Mr. & Mrs. Stephenson the Executors of Mrs. Jean Johnson’s bequest. Mrs. Johnson’s gift entrusts our Crews to use their skills, experience and courage, to continue saving lives.”
The RNLI are showing their appreciation of Mrs. Johnson’s generous gift, by adding her name to the decal on a new Shannon-Class All Weather Lifeboat, which will be stationed at Yarmouth and Gorlestan. This will be our first Legacy Lifeboat and is due on service in the second half of 2022.
The RNLI website says, Gifts in Wills bring our brave lifeboat crews home safely. They can provide the protective gear, lifeboats, training and equipment they and our lifeguards need to save lives. We would be so thankful if, after you’ve looked after your family and friends, you would consider leaving a gift in your Will to the RNLI. Our crew members and lifeguards are ordinary people, who drop everything at a moment’s notice to answer a call for help. A gift in your Will can help keep our lifesavers safe when they head out into wild seas to rescue people in an emergency. Any gift, large or small, will make a difference. It’s a gift that won’t be forgotten – because if you do choose to remember the RNLI in your Will, your name will be added to the side of a lifeboat after we are notified that we have received your gift, along with the names of others who have decided to support us in this special way. So, you will always be part of our lifesaving family.