The Dove-Bowerman Society - Leave a Legacy

In recognition of two remarkable women, Wycombe Abbey created the Dove-Bowerman Society in 2017 to recognise and thank all those who indicate an intention to leave a legacy to the School.

Every year, members of the Society and their partners are invited to a lunch in recognition of their special contribution towards Wycombe Abbey’s future. Thank you for helping Wycombe Abbey continue to nurture the next generation of pioneering women.

If you would like a confidential chat about legacy giving, please contact Clare Flynn-Scarcelli, Director of Development and External Relations, at [email protected] or 01494 895552.

“I’d like to encourage Seniors who have similarly good memories of Wycombe to join the Dove-Bowerman Society. The Society provides support to the School in all manner of areas. In recognition of the fact that I was a grammar school girl who, in 1963, was very fortunate to be given a bursary by the Middlesex County Council, the last offered before that excellent scheme was closed. Attending Wycombe has been of such unquantifiable benefit, I’d like to think my gift might go towards helping another pupil whose parents need financial support, a means-tested bursary, in order that their daughter might also reap the same, lifelong benefits of an education at Wycombe Abbey.”
- Trish Walker, C118

We understand that your family and friends come first. Once you have supported your loved ones, you can make a lasting impact on the next generation of young women by placing a gift in your will to Wycombe Abbey, regardless of the amount.

Many donors give an ‘unrestricted gift’, which allows the School to use the funds where they are appropriate for maximum benefit. Wycombe Abbey would allocate the funds in line with our strategic priorities to the best benefit of the pupils we support. Alternatively, if you have a particular passion and would prefer to direct your legacy to an area of personal choice, we will fully respect and honour your wishes.

What can I give?

There are several types of bequest:

Pecuniary Legacy: A monetary gift of a set sum.

Residuary Legacy: A gift of a percentage or all of your estate after other expenses have been paid.

Specific Legacy: A gift of a specific asset such as property, works of art and shares.

Reversionary Legacy: A gift that allows you to leave assets to Wycombe Abbey whilst giving a named person the benefit of them during his or her lifetime.

How do I give?

If you’d like to leave a legacy to Wycombe Abbey, we recommend you make or change your will with the help of a solicitor or legal professional. They will ensure that your wishes are clearly expressed and legally valid, and will be able to provide confidential and up-to-date advice tailored to your needs.

To help you start your gift, we’ve provided some suggested wording to use for the two main types of legacy gifts.

Residuary gift (a percentage of your estate): “I leave ____ percent of the residue of my real and personal estate to Wycombe Abbey at The Girls’ Education Company Limited, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1PE, registered charity number 310638.”

Pecuniary gift (a set sum): “I leave the sum of (in words) _______ pounds £____ (in figures) to Wycombe Abbey at The Girls’ Education Company Limited, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1PE, registered charity number 310638.”

A charitable legacy gift is currently exempt from Inheritance Tax and has the potential to reduce the tax burden on your family.

The exemption does not have a value limit. So if you were to leave your entire estate to charity, the gift would be completely free of inheritance tax.

If you leave 10% or more of your net estate (ie your total assets less liabilities) to charity, you could benefit from a reduction in the rate of inheritance tax from 40% to 36% on the rest of your estate.

The effect of this is that if you were already planning to leave 4% of your estate to charity, you could now think about increasing this to 10%. More money would pass to charity, yet your family would receive the same inheritance, or possibly more, once the tax reduction is taken into account.

This is a complex area where expert tax and/or legal advice may be necessary. A solicitor will be able to advise you on any specific tax benefits relative to your gift and personal circumstances.

Whilst you do not have to inform us of your gift, we would love for you to let us know and we would be delighted to welcome you as a member of the Dove-Bowerman Society.

Please complete the pledge form below to help you notify us of your intentions and desire to join the Dove-Bowerman Society or contact the Development Office at [email protected] or 01494 896301.

Legacy Pledge Form

By leaving a gift in your will to Wycombe Abbey, you are helping the next generation of exceptional young women succeed in their futures.

Our promises demonstrate our lasting commitment to you, your family and loved ones, and each and every pupil that walks through the halls of Wycombe Abbey.

• We are committed to being at the forefront of girls’ boarding education and recognised globally as a world class school. Your gift will help Wycombe Abbey to continue to flourish, building on its long and illustrious history. Without the support of our generous community, we would not be able to achieve our ambitious goals.
• We would love to hear about your gift and invite you to our Dove-Bowerman Society. Whilst you do not need to inform us of your gift, for those who do we will do our best to keep you updated about the work we do, in a way that you would prefer.
• Your privacy is of utmost importance and we will always respect that. Your will is an incredibly personal document and we know how special it is to you.
• We know that circumstances change. You have the right to change your mind at any time and we will always respect your choice to prioritise your friends, family and loved ones.
• We will handle your gift with care, respect and sensitivity. It is important to us that your gift is used to the greatest impact on the pupils.

Wycombe Abbey was founded in 1896 by Miss Frances Dove, later Dame Frances, a trailblazer who promoted equal opportunities for girls in the Victorian Age. Since the first cohort of 40 girls, many inspiring women have graced the halls of Wycombe Abbey, building a strong community of sisterhood on the foundations of excellence, innovation and integrity.

Elsie Bowerman joined Wycombe Abbey in 1901 as the youngest girl in the School and led a remarkable life. Not averse to resilience, Elsie found herself rowing lifeboat number six away from the sinking wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1912, and in 1917 she witnessed the Russian Revolution at first hand. As a pioneer, Elsie became the first female barrister at the Old Bailey in 1924 and later went on to the United States to set up the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1947.

The days Elsie spent at Wycombe Abbey remained close to her, and in 1971, she established the Dove-Bowerman Trust to support the education of young women at the School. She described the Trust as ‘the crowning work’ of her life, and when she died a little over a year later, Elsie left the majority of her estate to the Trust, which supported young minds for over four decades.