17th August 1932 - 9th November 2012
Born in 1932, Betty Messenger went into her father's timber and chair-making business before branching out into farming and the commercial property market. Over time she built up her own property portfolio and this formed the core of funds at the disposal of the Foundation.
These, however, are only the bare bones of Betty's colourful life. She played hockey to national level, raised Welsh Cob horses, rode with the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, loved fast cars and enjoyed good food and wine. She was a discerning collector of antique furniture, as well as silver spoons. In addition, she practiced medieval calligraphy and wood engraving, loved dogs in general and German Shepherds in particular with which she won many trophies.
Betty never married or moved from the village she was born in, Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire. Throughout her life she supported the local community there, helping in particular those she considered to have drive and ability but lacked the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. This was consistent with her desire to help those who "fell through the cracks", as she put it, an aim that now underpins the work of the Foundation.
Betty was very affected by the deaths of a number of people who were close to her. Her brother Maurice, a rear gunner, who was shot down and killed, together with his colleagues, in 1944.
Two of her friends died more recently from Motor Neurone Disease and Ovarian Cancer. It was this that prompted the Foundation to assist medical research into these conditions.
Betty died on 9th November 2012.
For some years we have given a lot of thought to the best way to commemorate Betty Messenger’s connection and support for the people of the village of Stokenchurch. We agreed to make a substantial donation but there was a problem of finding an organisation which would take responsibility for custody and distribution of the fund. The solution was to find a group of dependable local people to form a new local organisation.
We also funded the cost of establishing the new charitable trust. The Saw Mill Trust was consequently formed with a donation from the Foundation of £1million. The trustees of BMCF have no connection with the newly formed charity which will be supporting charitable causes within Stokenchurch Parish. The donation also included the cost of providing a new minibus for the local community.
The Old Saw Mill the foundation of Messenger family wealth