News Copy – By Richard Jenkins

Brits left £2.85 BILLION to charity via gifts in wills last year – the largest amount ever recorded.

The incredible figure is the equivalent of the money raised from 39 Red Nose Days.

Health and cancer charities were the biggest beneficiaries with Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation in the top five, according to data from 260,000 wills in 2016/2017.

Other popular charities include the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the RSPCA.

The data, secured from research conducted by Smee & Ford, was released to coincide with Remember A Charity in Your Will Week, which runs from September 10-16.

Rob Cope, Director of consortium Remember A Charity, said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see the collective amount gifted to charities in Wills rise, as it genuinely has a huge impact.

“For example, legacies fund six in 10 lifeboat launches and two in three guide dogs. However, there’s still a job to be done before gifting in Wills becomes the norm.

“At Remember A Charity, we work with over 200 charities – both big and small – to encourage those writing a Will not only to consider leaving a gift to charity in their Will after they’ve taken care of friends and family, but also to have that conversation openly with loved ones.

“It doesn’t matter how much you leave, even a small amount can make such a big difference – whether it’s helping with research into curing life-threatening diseases or taking care of endangered species.”

A separate poll of 2,000 adults conducted through found a third would be willing to leave a charitable gift in their Will, after taking care of family and friends.

However, currently just six per cent of Brits actually leave a charitable gift in their Will.

The country is split when it comes to the cause closest to their heart. In Glasgow and Brighton, the majority of people choose to support charities dedicated to protecting endangered animals.

Meanwhile in Leeds, 40 per cent of people support cat charities.

The average amount donated by Brits is £3,300, and while most people donate to a single charity, the average number of charitable bequests is three.

Len Goodman, head judge on Dancing with the Stars, said: “I am supporting this year’s Remember a Charity Week because I feel it’s important to leave behind a gift to a charity that you support in order to help them continue their good work once we are gone.

“Over my lifetime I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work that charities do, and it would be a shame for them to stop just because we do.

“I hope that by supporting Remember a Charity Week I can get more people thinking about their legacy, and leaving a gift in their Will.”

To celebrate this year’s, Remember A Charity in Your Will Week, 200 charities have come together to launch Human – the world’s first charity-powered search engine,

To learn more about how to leave a charitable gift in your Will, visit

Legacy income of the top 10 charitable organisations over five years

1 Cancer Research UK
2 Royal National Lifeboat Institution
3 Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
4 Macmillan Cancer Support
5 British Heart Foundation
6 The National Trust
7 Salvation Army Trust
9 Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
10 Royal National Institute of Blind People


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