Give the Best Away : The story of one of Britain’s most generous philanthropists
Rosemary grew up in a poor family in the North West of England, at the end of the Second World War. Struggling for survival in the era of ration books and austerity, she was destined for something astonishing and inspiring, far beyond even her wildest dreams. John Lancaster, whom she married, left school without qualifications, but had an amazing ability to fix machines and invent things. He would go on to corner the market in conservatory roofing systems; his company became a world leader, floating on the stock market for 136 million. They were multi-millionaires. The pair, both committed Christians, set about giving away their astonishing fortune, starting with their employees. They set up the Lancaster Foundation, with Rosemary in charge, offering medical and practical support to the suffering, disadvantaged and marginalized people throughout the UK and Africa. Rosemary immersed herself in the work of the charity, which purchased an emergency plane for Mission Aviation Fellowship, and started the first village for destitute AIDS victims in South Africa. Rosemary even found herself rescuing children from the rubbish tips of Kenya. Additionally the foundation has sponsored arts initiatives and major inner city regeneration projects in Manchester, and is committed to numerous ongoing local and national youth and community projects. Rosemary and John continue to be one of Britain’s generous philanthropists.