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Leaving a gift in your Will is a powerful way to show you care.

25 February 2021
Deborah Bakewell with grand-daughter
Deborah Bakewell with grand-daughter

A gift in your Will can help fund research into better treatments for future kidney patients. People don’t have to be rich to show they care either, as every penny makes a difference, from small donations of £50, to entire estates worth hundreds of thousands. 

“Leaving a Will is incredibly powerful as it allows you to take care of your loved ones; make sure your wishes are carried out; and is a chance to remember causes you care deeply about,” said legacies officer Elaine Saggers, who recently retired after 11 years with Kidney Research UK. 

Gifts in Wills to us mean people’s compassion lives on, helping our world-class researchers discover new preventions and treatments for kidney disease. 

Legacy donations make up around a third of the funding for Kidney Research UK. From small donations to entire estates, the average value of each gift is around £20,000 and can make a huge impact for research. 

Elaine Saggers
Elaine Saggers, legacies officer

Mystery donors

Elaine has overseen these gifts since 2011 and is passionate about the role and the people, but at the tender age of 68, says it is time to hand over the reins to a new capable pair of hands. 

With her goes a wealth of amazing stories of the people who’ve supported us over the years and how Kidney Research UK ensures people’s final wishes are taken care of. Sometimes, the donations remain a mystery. 

They include a man who left £757,000 but didn’t tell anybody why. 

“We have no record of him, no correspondence at all, so we have no idea why he chose to support us,” she remembers. “Such an incredible gift.” 

Another memorable donor was a woman known only to the charity as a regular Kidney Research UK raffle player. The woman left her entire estate valued at £590,000. The donation came as a complete surprise. 

Family history influences gifts

Most legacies, however, are given because of personal experience. One example is a woman whose daughter died of kidney disease. Experiencing the devastation of losing a child meant she left her entire estate of £450,000 to help fund research into finding a cure so that other families did not have to go through what she suffered. 

Some of the legacy donations to Kidney Research UK require careful communication between many partners. 

Like the man who wrote in his Will that he wished to share his estate between nine charities. In his final days, however, he asked that the hospice who was caring for him, could be added to the list of beneficiaries. 

“We said yes straight away,” Elaine says. “Nobody should deny a person their final wishes.” 

Elaine fondly remembers the elderly lady who left part of a very large estate to Kidney Research UK and in her will, asked a friend to take care of her beloved pet dog, Josh. 

“Josh had a terrible skin condition that needed regular vet visits,” Elaine says. “But the lady had clearly forgotten about the dog’s vet bills, so I discussed his condition with the other 11 charities and made sure all of Josh’s care was paid for,” Elaine said.  

“It was important Josh’s needs were taken care of as that’s exactly what the owner would have wanted.” 

Essential funds for our work

Legacy donations are a key part of funding for smaller charities like Kidney Research UK, Elaine says.  

“Knowing that kidney disease can happen to any of us, at any stage of our lives, with no known cure, makes such donations vital to carry on essential research work,” she says.  

“Existing treatments can be tremendously hard on people. 

“Too many lives are turned upside down and too many people are dying, at too young an age, because of it. A gift in your Will can do something incredible: it can drive vital research until a cure for kidney disease is found. It can improve the treatments people are given. Leaving a legacy is a wonderful gift.” 

"It is both humbling and sometimes a strange feeling, knowing people have left all their worldly belongings to us, yet we don’t know why. It’s remarkable to think they want to support our vital research for future patients." Elaine Saggers, legacies officer

Write your Will for FREE

We’ve teamed up with specialist Will writers Farewill to offer you a free Will writing service. You don’t have to leave us a gift to use the service, but please consider us if you can. Offer ends 31 July 2021.

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