The generosity of a Norfolk farmer is set to improve health services in North Norfolk after Cromer Hospital received one of its biggest ever donations.
The family of Douglas de Bootman have presented a cheque of more than £1m to the N&N Hospitals Charity after the retired farmer left the proceeds of his estate to Cromer Hospital in his will.
Mr de Bootman spent his life farming at Pentney, near Swaffham, before retiring and buying Church Farm in Thursford with his wife Janet.
After Janet died of cancer in 2010, Mr de Bootman continued to live in Thursford and spent much of his time looking after the grounds of his farm and discovered his love of painting.
The 88-year-old died in March 2018 following a short illness.
His niece Karen Ballard, from King’s Lynn, said her uncle liked helping others and Mr de Bootman revealed to her a week before his death that he was leaving his legacy to benefit Cromer Hospital.
“He was very active in his retirement up until three or four weeks before he died. He had quite a lot of land and used to get up early in the mornings and spent his time taking care of the grounds: cutting the grass, pruning the trees, chopping wood etc. He was very skilled at carpentry, welding, and agricultural engineering. He loved being outside with his Labrador and in his retirement took up painting, which it seems he had a natural skill.”
“He was such a quiet, sensitive gentleman. He and Janet enjoyed a few holidays in Scotland. My uncle liked a quiet life, in Thursford he had a few elderly neighbours who he liked to help and vice versa.
“We are happy that the money is going to the new cancer unit at Cromer Hospital as cancer affects so many people in many ways.”
The sale of Mr de Bootman’s estate has resulted in Cromer Hospital receiving £1,078,519.30
The Trust is currently working with Macmillan Cancer Support to create a state-of-the-art cancer care and support centre, which will increase chemotherapy and treatment space at Cromer Hospital.
Louise Cook, Head of Fundraising for the N&N Hospitals Charity, said: “We are overwhelmed by this incredibly generous donation, which will make a significant difference to thousands of patients in North Norfolk.
“Mr de Bootman’s legacy will undoubtedly help improve the facilities and services at the hospital and will be felt by patients, staff and visitors for many years to come.”
Picture caption: From left, Cancer Operations Manager Matt Keeling, Mr de Bootman’s sister in law Pat de Bootman, niece Karen Ballard and Cromer Matron Anita Martins.