The first question that some of you will ask is:
Who was Alan Bott?
Alan Bott was a Manxman, born in Douglas in 1920, shortly after the ending of the First World War, in the downstairs front room of 7 Summerhill overlooking Douglas Bay and at the age of 10 won a scholarship to Douglas High School. His first job was selling magazines on the SS Victoria during school holidays – one of the Steam Packet ships sailing between the Isle of Man and Liverpool. But once school days were over, he began work as a junior clerk at a Timber firm until he enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1939 just before the outbreak of World War Two.
He was eventually posted near York and ended up billeted in Shipton-By-Benningborough where he met and married Mary Mark, daughter of a local farmer.
Shortly after the end of the war, Alan became a member of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) York Branch where he was instrumental in finding them a permanent home in Aldwark which they still occupy to this day. Through his RAFA connections and the fact that he was also a serving member of the RAF, Alan was invited to join the committee involved in the establishment of the RAF Memorial in York Minster which was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1955. As the only remaining committee member at the 50th anniversary, Alan was asked to unveil a plaque to celebrate the anniversary. In 1967.
Alan retired from the RAF and joined Barclays Bank where he served as chief cashier at the St Helen’s Square branch, York, for the next 13 years. Whilst there, was invited to help with fund raising for the York Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. He eventually became deputy chairman of the branch as well as national council member for the Yorkshire Association and it was whilst serving on the National Council, he was instrumental in getting Woodlands MS Respite Care centre built in York. The centre opened in 1990 with an average of around 85-90% occupancy until its closure in 2011.
In addition to his work for the MS Society and the RAFA, Alan was a guide at Benningborough Hall for many years, and also filled the role of treasurer for a centre for single mothers in Accomb.
He died in 2008 and three weeks after his death, a letter arrived from Downing Street advising him he has been awarded the MBE for services to both the RAFA and MS Society. Unfortunately, such awards cannot be given posthumously so he never had the privilege of those letters after his name. However, it is certain that, had he lived just a bit longer, he would have been extremely proud to have received such an award.
Mary died in 2021 aged 100.
So why The Alan Bott Charity?
When Woodlands closed in 2011, a number of volunteers decided to set up a charity to provide support for people with MS who had lost all their respite facilities overnight and because they all had known Alan and were aware of all the charitable work, he had done it was agreed that this new charity would be named after Alan in his honour.