Former Berwick man's legacy helps veterans

Thanks to the kindness of former Berwick man Michael O'Donnell, five Army veterans have moved into new accommodation.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 10 December, 2018, 11:53
Michael O'Donnell

The newly-built assisted living apartments in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, were partly funded by a substantial legacy left to veterans’ charity Erskine by Mr O’Donnell.

This week, Michael’s son Keith, will make a poignant visit to the apartments which have been named Kimberlea House in memory of his father and his home in Dunbar.

Keith said: “My father was a veteran of the Second World War, joining the Highland Light Infantry in 1939 and serving until 1946 when he left the Army as a warrant officer.

“He rarely spoke about the war, although we do know that he never lost an appreciation that he was one of the lucky ones, he came home.

“It was no surprise to me that he wanted to leave all his assets to charity, the bulk of which he left to Erskine to help support the marvellous work they do caring for veterans. We are all immensely proud of the facility which Erskine has created with his legacy.”

Erskine chief executive Ian Cumming said: “We are extremely grateful to the late Michael O’Donnell for his generosity in remembering our veterans in his will.

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“His gift has transformed the lives of veterans that had a specialist housing need. They now live independently in a safe and peaceful home environment, with help and support from us when required.

“Mr O’Donnell’s kindness will continue to improve the lives of many and he will not be forgotten.”

Michael O’Donnell was orphaned at the age of 14 and moved to Berwick to live with one of his older sisters and her husband. He started work in Liptons in Berwick in 1934 and in 1939 moved to Liptons in Dunbar. It was in Dunbar where he met Betty Knox and they married in 1940, having three children.

He returned to Dunbar after the war and continued to work with Liptons until 1982.

On his 90th birthday in 2010, Michael received an award from Dunbar Community Council in recognition of his very full contribution to the community. He died peacefully in April 2017.