Steinmeyer Legacy Group
Meeting at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday, 19 January 2017
The White Church Meeting Room
The meeting was opened by Andrew Reid, Comrie Development Trust Secretary, who said that CDT had set up the meeting as the organisation identified to take responsibility for the legacy in the Will of Heinrich Steinmeyer. It was agreed that Andrew Reid should chair this first meeting of the Steinmeyer Legacy Group.
Attending: Alan Laing; Alan Moffat; Amanda Laing; Andrew Reid; Blair Urquhart; Bob Hughes; Bob Turner; Colin Seers; George Lees; Gordon McCartney; Helen Buchan; Ian Pinkerton; Jane Reid; Jimmy Laing; Joan Carmichael; John King; Joyce Carnegie; Judy McDowall; Kathy Duthie; Ken Heiser; Leigh Doy; Mairi Philp; Murray Lauchlan; Nancy McCrae; Ray Crozier; Stephanie Cameron
Organisations represented at the meeting by those attending included: Comrie Development Trust; the Silver Circle; St Kessog’s Church; Strathearn Ramblers; SWRI; the Coco Bus; Comrie Fortnight; Perth & Kinross Voluntary Services Association (PKAVS); Comrie and District Adult Education Association
Apologies were noted from: Christine Ironside; Elizabeth Kemp; George Carson; Gillian Allan; Karen Nichol; Kate Sainsbury; Laura Hustwayte; Paddy Allen; Pauline Toole; Major Roy Naylor; Rhona Findlay; Sandra McRitchie;
3. The Legacy
Andrew Reid provided brief background material to the Legacy. Those attending would be familiar with Heinrich Steinmeyer’s history including his time as a prisoner of war at Cultybraggan Camp. After the year 2,000, Heinrich returned to the village on a number of occasions and expressed his affection for the area and the people of Comrie. He had arranged with the Strathearn Ramblers that his ashes would be spread in the hills around the village after his death, and had given a sum of money to provide for a small plaque at the camp. He also indicated that he wanted, through his Will, to leave all of his possessions to Comrie Development Trust for older people in Comrie. After his death in 2014, the legacy transfer took a very long period of time because of the complexities involved, including the German Government appointing solicitors, their sale of Heinrich’s house, car and other possessions, settling his tax and other financial affairs, and all of the legal, regulatory and banking arrangements related to the transfer of a substantial sum across international borders from Germany to the financial accounts of CDT, as a registered charity in Scotland.
After CDT had received the funds in July 2016, some time had been spent in examining whether an organisation should be brought in to assist with consulting and managing the funds. After considering this option, it had been decided that decisions about whether to involve any outside organisation should be made by a legacy group, which should be established locally to take over responsibility for consultation and Legacy fund management.
The terms of Heinrich Steinmeyer’s Will identify Comrie Development Trust as the organisation responsible for the use of the legacy funds and that Heinrich Steinmeyer also intended that the legacy should be specifically used for elderly people:
“After my passing my full wealth and all my property shall be given to the Comrie Development Trust which is a listed charity. My house shall be sold to the highest price, and so shall my car, an Audi 176 and my furniture. Herewith, I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Scotland for the kindness and generosity that I have experienced in Scotland during my imprisonment of war and hereafter. My bequest is only intended for the people of Scotland, elderly people.”
The question was raised by George Lees about how to interpret the Will, and whether the funds had to be used more widely across Scotland. Various members of the group, who had personally known Heinrich Steinmeyer, presented information to confirm that Heinrich wished his legacy to be spent within the Comrie area. Alan Moffat and Ken Heiser both spoke of his connections with the Strathearn Ramblers and Heinrich’s memories of his treatment at Cultybraggan Camp and in the area during and immediately after the War, which had led to the request about his ashes – carried out by the Ramblers. Joan Carmichael spoke of talking with Heinrich about his interest in what was available for older people locally, and taking him to visit Dalginross House Care Home in Comrie. Colin Seers stressed the importance of the fact that the terms of the Will specifically state that the legacy should be “given to the Comrie Development Trust” as a “listed charity” and it was noted that CDT’s legally registered aims direct that its focus of activities are within the Comrie area. The lawyers involved in Germany had determined that it was legally proper and appropriate to transfer the funds to Comrie Development Trust and had required detailed evidence of CDT’s legal and financial status before dealing with the funds transfer. The Group agreed that the evidence clearly confirmed that the legacy funds should be used to benefit ‘elderly people’ in Comrie.
Bob Hughes, Comrie Development Trust Treasurer, then presented financial information about the legacy. He stated that the funds were held in a restricted account, which CDT had opened and was ring fenced to deal exclusively with the Steinmeyer legacy funds, and not to be used for any other purpose. Bob provided a copy for each Legacy Group member of the Triodos Bank deposit account statement, which showed the Legacy fund of £386,361.47p being deposited on 1 July 2016, bank charges since then of £28.50, a payment required and made to the German solicitors in November amounting to £823.94, bank interest over the period of £586.90p at a rate of 0.15% per annum, with a total balance on 1 January 2017 amounting to £386,361.47. Bob Hughes noted that the maximum amount that could be paid through Internet transaction was currently £5,000 per transaction, and that the arrangement with Triodos Bank was that transactions over £5,000 required written confirmation of instructions to the bank. The current bank account signatories were himself, Bob Hughes, as CDT Treasurer, Chris Palmer as a CDT Trustee and Andy Heming as CDT Finance Officer.
Bob Hughes noted that , as CDT is the organisation with legal responsibility for the funds, the banking, payments and audit requirements will have to remain CDT responsibilities, unless some alternative legal arrangement is put in place, such as the establishment of a Steinmeyer Legacy Trust. However, some of the income from the bank interest for the funds, could be available to the Legacy Group for expenses, such as office costs, copying and printing documents and room hires. Whilst it would be for the Group to make proposals for how the total legacy amount should be used to benefit older people in the village, and to manage how it is spent, the Group might also want to make proposals about the banking arrangements, including the transfer of some or all of the funds to higher interest accounts.
Judy McDowell raised the issue of fund security in relation to bank guarantees up to £75,000 per account. It was agreed that this should be a matter for the Legacy Group to consider, and make proposals for any arrangements to spread the funds across different accounts.
4. Legacy Group Aims and Role
It was noted that membership of the Legacy Group had been invited by CDT on the basis of suggested responsibilities for consulting about the legacy funds, making proposals for its use, and managing how it is spent. The group agreed about the importance of establishing in more detail what its aims and role should be, and that this should be finalised when the group is fully formed.
5. Group member funding views (plus other views received)
Andrew Reid noted the paper, circulated to those attending, which summarised the comments received by CDT since the details of the legacy were made public, and included a brief listing of the suggestions made
Development Ideas: A group for isolated older people; availability of mobility scooters and charging points; a wind turbine for income; a commemorative plaque at Cultybraggan Camp; carers support and training; older people transport services; a handyman; a bank of paid carers; respite support; creative activities to connect older people to younger age groups; a men’s shed; a multipurpose leisure centre; a combined health visitor/social worker/OT post;
(note of additional proposal received – funding for improvements to the Rural Hall);
Legacy Group Arrangements: Involvement on the group of a doctor from the medical centre, the Abbeyfield Outreach Worker and a representative of Dalginross Care Home; a survey of people receiving homecare; support based on need rather than age; spending restricted to residents of Comrie during the war; investment to secure good interest rate.
It was agreed that it would be inappropriate to take up time at this first meeting of the Legacy Group in considering development ideas or funding proposals, and that this should be carried out following the consultation process.
6. Community consultation
Various people made reference to public meetings as a means of gathering people’s views about how the legacy funds should be used. Joan Carmichael suggested that people attending public meetings should also be given a paper to take away, complete and return with ideas. John King expressed concern that, whilst able-bodied people could attend meetings, it was also vital to survey the opinions of older people, who are less able and not able to get out to meetings, further. Ray Crozier suggested that individual visits to older people should also be used for consultation. Stephanie Cameron supported the need to gather a wide spectrum of opinion. Joan Carmichael was concerned about the previous experience of a lack of response to surveys. Judy McDowell felt that carrying out surveys to get people’s views would be an important part of the Legacy Group’s work.
Stephanie Cameron told the group of the potential support in this work available through PKAVS (Perth and Kinross Association for Voluntary Services) and her work for that organisation. She could be available to advise the Legacy Group and support the consultation work – possibly including some financial assistance from a small fund held by PKAVS.
7. Group status & relationship with CDT
Bob Hughes indicated that Comrie Development Trust would not be using the legacy funds, and how they should be spent would be for the Legacy Group to determine. However, CDT still has the legal responsibility to oversee the proper use of the legacy, and therefore there will need to be a continuing link between the Legacy Group and CDT, with CDT receiving copies of the Legacy Group minutes, and with payments and audit checks coming through CDT. Joan Carmichael said it seemed that the Legacy Group could be seen as working under the umbrella of CDT’s status as a registered charity. In answer to a question, Bob confirmed that CDT Board members were fully supportive of the new arrangements and responsibilities of the Legacy Group. It was proposed and agreed that a CDT Board member should become a member of the Legacy Group and provide a main link with CDT.
Andrew Reid noted that the current balance of responsibilities would remain as described unless a separate legal arrangement was put in place, such as the establishment of a Steinmeyer Trust with its own local Board of Trustees, which could take over the legal responsibilities currently held by CDT. George Lees asked for confirmation that if a separate Trust was established, would this mean that the link with CDT would end, and Bob Hughes confirmed that this would be the case. Helen Buchan emphasised the importance of good working relationships between CDT and other village organisations. Andrew Reid said that it would be for the Legacy Group to identify the best arrangements for managing the legacy funds, and if the best way of doing this is through different legal arrangements than currently exist, then new arrangements, such as a separate Trust, should be pursued.
8. The Legacy Group
A range of ideas were put forward by various people present for the membership and organisation of the Legacy Group, including that;
The establishment of the final group should happen after a public meeting has taken place (Joan Carmichael);
an interim committee should be set up immediately to arrange a public meeting and any other necessary organisational work (Alan Moffat);
an interim committee should have six to ten members (John King);
community groups should be represented on the committee (Nancy McCrae)
people should be identified to organise the public meetings and survey work;
staff at the Medical Centre should be consulted about the work or represented on the group/committee, as they have substantial knowledge about older people locally;
It was agreed to open membership of the interim committee to all of those attending, or who had expressed an interest in joining the work, and potentially others who could usefully contribute to the activities.
Various members of the group agreed to join the interim committee:
Alan Moffat; Alan Laing; Andrew Reid; Bob Hughes; George Carson; George Lees; Gordon McCartney; Ian Pinkerton; Jane Reid; Jimmy Laing; Joan Carmichael; Joyce Carnegie; Judy McDowall; Karen Nichol; Ken Heiser; Murray Lauchlan; Sandra McRitchie ;
Others offered to support work identified by the committee (with offers of support also included through previous comments received from others), including:
Amanda Laing; Bob Turner; Christine Ironside; Colin Seers; Elizabeth Kemp; Helen Buchan;
John King; Kathy Duthie; Kate Sainsbury; Laura Hustwayte; Leigh Doy; Nancy McCrae;
Pauline Toole; Ray Crozier; Stephanie Cameron;
The agenda for the meeting had included a list of items related to how the interim committee and later the Legacy Group would be organised, including: meetings; Chair; Finance lead; Secretary; minutes; administration; expenses; additional group/individual members; and communications with the community. It was agreed that they should all be issues for consideration by the interim committee.
It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting should be made widely available in the village, including on the community website.
9. Any Other Business
10. Next meeting – 7.00 p.m. Tuesday, 24 January 2017, Comrie Parish Church Hall Annex.
Minutes the Inaugural Meeting 19 January 2017