BEQUEST: The Bowes Museum
BEQUEST: The Bowes Museum

TWO kind-hearted fans of The Bowes Museum have left volunteers “delighted” after gifting it a total of £34,000 in their wills.

The two bequests will help to secure the enjoyment of The Bowes Museum for future generations.

The late Margaret Clarissa Bright, of Darlington, was a life member of the Friends of The Bowes Museum. Following her death, the friends have received a donation of £31,000.

The volunteer group, which aims to support and improve the renowned site, also received a further £3,000 from the late Parkin Raine – a well-known Teesdale photography enthusiast – who died in April 2017.

Sandra Moorhouse, chairwoman of the friends and town mayor, said: “We are delighted to have received the money.

“They both came totally out of the blue. We have to rely on our fundraising. Donations are the icing on the cake.”

Mr Raine’s legacy will be used to enable young musicians to perform throughout the museum, including in the galleries.

Ms Moorhouse said: “Parkin Raine left it for young people to be able to go into the museum and perform music.

“He did not want chairs and seats round.

“People are really excited about that project. Music is beautiful in those galleries.”

Sam Turner

The Bowes Museum itself topped Mr Raine’s bequest up by £1,000 – as did the Friends.

Some £5,000 has now been set aside to fulfil his wishes.

The money has been ring-fenced and will be used to cover expenses – for example musician travel costs or retuning the grand piano.

Meanwhile, the Friends of The Bowes Museum is still deciding how to spend Ms Bright’s legacy.

Ms Moorhouse said: “It does look as though there is something which is perhaps imminent. As friends we would really like to have something that is tangible so people can see what we have bought.

“The friends felt that it was such a good sum that it needed to be something really positive and more lasting than paying towards an exhibition which would soon be over.

“The Bowes Museum will come back to us with ideas of how to use the money

“If the friends feel it is appropriate, they will go along with it. We have asked that it has some attachment to the name Bright.”

However, Mrs Moorhouse added: “I don’t think anyone on the committee had ever met Ms Bright which we felt was a bit sad.”

The friends organisation will hold its annual meeting on June 18, at 6pm in the museum.