£1.3million Leeds arts fund transferred to charity from council control

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The transfer of £1.3m bequeathed to Leeds’s cultural scene is to be transferred from council management into a special fund to make better use of the cash - and help boost Leeds’ treasure trove of objets d’art.

In 2011, Leeds City Council received almost 1.6m by way of a bequest from the late Mrs Patricia Hurst of Harrogate, to be used to buy “an object of beauty” in memory of Mrs Hurst and her late husband, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Hurst.

Various items have already been bought for the city as part of a dedicated Hurst Collection, including an Elizabethan silver cup - then known as the Morgan Cup but now known as the Hurst Cup - for £250,000. This is currently on display at Temple Newsam.

Other smaller items include a George II Silver Basket for £34,000 and a series of portraits.

However last year, the council was contacted by the couple’s niece, expressing her concern that “better investment use was not being made of the bequest”.

Now the council’s decision-making executive board has approved the transfer of the remaining cash to the Leeds Arts Fund charity.

A report rubber-stamped by the panel yesterday explains that the council is “restricted in its ability to invest the bequest in a way which could produce higher rates of interest, and officers have therefore considered alternative approaches in discussion with finance and legal teams and with Mrs Hurst’s niece”. It adds that Leeds Art Fund “has been identified as a more appropriate home for the bequest” as it has “significant experience in investing bequest funds to maximise their benefit whilst safeguarding the benefactor’s wishes”.

The balance of the bequest will now be transferred to the charity.

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