St John launches Forget Me Knot week

Margaret Mountford with Laura Denton

St John Ambulance has joined Sir Alan Sugar’s Apprentice sidekick, Margaret Mountford, to launch Forget Me Knot week, a national awareness week to highlight the importance of gifts left to charities in wills.

The campaign, led by charity consortium Remember a Charity, runs from the 14 to the 20 September.

I used to think it was only celebrities or wealthy people who left money in their wills to worthy organisations. It’s great that we’re making everyone aware how they can do their bit to help charities like St John Ambulance continue doing their good work.

Laura Denton
St John Ambulance volunteer

Charitable donations in wills are the foundation of many of Britain’s charities, totalling £1.9 billion each year – the equivalent of over 23 Red Nose Days. Without this income most charities’ services would suffer; others would simply not exist.

Yet despite 74% of people regularly supporting a charity in their lifetime, currently only 7% of people who have written a will include a gift to charity.

New research released on Monday 14 September from Remember A Charity, a consortium of over 140 charities including St John Ambulance, suggests that an extra 6% of people would consider leaving a gift to charity if the question was asked by a solicitor or professional will writer while they were making or updating their will. Although this number seems small it could generate over £1.6 billion more for good causes every year.

Laura Denton, 31, from Chessington and a volunteer first aider with St John Ambulance, was asked to take part in the campaign after saving a footballer’s life at an amateur football match. She joined other organisations along with Margaret, who is a former lawyer and trustee of charity CORDA, at the Lincolns Inn courts of law, to be photographed with a giant knot. The forget me knot icon symbolises the act of remembering. Members of the public are encouraged to tie their own ‘virtual’ knot and show support for their charity by visiting the Remember A Charity website.

Laura said: ‘I’m very glad to be part of the campaign to encourage more people to leave legacies to charities. I used to think it was only celebrities or wealthy people who left money in their wills to worthy organisations. It’s great that we’re making everyone aware how they can do their bit to help charities like St John Ambulance continue doing their good work. It’s only thanks to donations that people like me can carry on giving first aid to those who need us.’

Scott Jacobson, Director of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising at the charity, said: ‘Legacies play a huge part St John's income and we hope the Forget Me Knot campaign will encourage people to remember the life saving work of St John Ambulance when they prepare their wills.’