Raymond Lawson was born at the turn of the 20th century and became a successful business man with his wife Blanche at his side. In their later life they formed the Raymond and Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust which went on to become an incredible legacy of the Lawsons. Today The Lawson Trust remains firmly rooted in Kent with friends of the couple and descendants of the Lawsons' friends guiding the work of the trust.
Raymond's family ran an antiques business in Tonbridge, Kent and for many years he continued the family business whilst also establishing Worrin & Lawson, an estate agent, with a business partner. In 1932 Raymond and some associates formed Tonbridge and District Properties Ltd, a property investment company. This company became a very successful endeavour with a growing portfolio of properties.
Raymond was married to Blanche and they were both prominent members of the Tonbridge community, involved with the Rotary Club, their local church and many other community organisations. In 1980 they created the Raymond and Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust, born out of a desire to help people in need within their local community.
Both Raymond and Blanche died in the 1980s, bequeathing most of their estate to the trust, including their investment in Tonbridge & District Properties Ltd. This company together with Worrin & Lawson continued to be managed by John Banks, a trusted colleague until his death in 2010.
John and his family were trustees of the trust, annually distributing the income in accordance with the terms of the trust and the Lawsons' aims. In 2015 Tonbridge & District Properties Ltd was sold and the The Raymond and Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust received substantial proceeds from its shareholding.
The current trustees have formed, for ease of administration, The Lawson Trust CIO as the successor of the Raymond & Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust, transferring all the assets into the new CIO. As the trust moves forward the trustees are developing new grant making and investment policy to safeguard the aims laid down by the founders and settlors.
Get to know some of our grantees...
Social and Economic Disadvantage
Tall Ships Youth Trust
Tall Ships is the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity, helping young people redefine their horizons through adventure learning at sea.
They take young people aged 12-25 on residential youth sailing voyages on board tall ships. Out on the water, under sail, they learn lessons that set them up for life and help them realise their own potential.
Health & Wellbeing
MERU is a charity that creates unique, assistive products for disabled children and young people.
The Lawson Trust supported MERU with its delivery of the free Bugzi Loan Scheme in Kent. Bugzi is a very small powered wheelchair suitable for children under 5, providing young disabled children the chance to move independently, often for the first time.
Louie’s Helping Hands
Louie’s Helping Hands is a charity which raises funds to support The Llewellyn School. The charity raised funds to build this much-needed school for children with complex needs.
The Llewellyn’ School’s mission is to provide a high quality, holistic, therapeutic, effective and meaningful educational experience for all of our pupils.
Arts and Heritage
Create is a leading national charity aiming to empower lives, reduce loneliness and enhance wellbeing through the creative arts.
The Lawson Trust awarded a grant to their Creative Voices project where 15-20 isolated adult carers from Care for the Carers East Sussex collaboratively explored their creativity and self-expression alongside professional artists.
Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is a charity run by volunteers, working hard to preserve the nature reserve for the wider community to enjoy.
The Lawson Trust provided funding towards the restoration of paths, enabling better access for people with physical disabilities; installation and repair of fencing along paths and around the lake; provision of information boards and litter bins; and habitat provision for Kingfishers and water voles.