Crispin Ellison Bursary Award winners 2023

August 2, 2023

Their names were announced at last month’s ILM Conference 2023.

The Crispin Ellison Bursary is named in memory of the ILM’s founding member and lifetime President and both receive a training package from the ILM up to the value of £1,000 each.


Arian Thornton

Arian Thornton

Having originally trained as a paralegal and worked in private practice, Arian joined the legacy sector in November 2022, explaining that the move was prompted by a very personal experience.

“My husband’s late auntie was cared for by Marie Curie nurses in the last few weeks of her life and I wanted to do something with my career that would be rewarding and positive,” says Arian.

“I worked in wills and probate, including some contentious probate, and I knew my skills were transferable. When I saw the Marie Curie legacy administration role advertised, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity for me.”

Keen to develop her legacy administration knowledge, Arian’s line manager Katherine Ellis had already mentioned the CiCLA award and encouraged her to apply for the bursary.

“I had been thinking about how I could fund my training, so when I received the email to say I had won, it was a very nice surprise,” said Arian, who has already completed her first assessment.

“Katherine has been incredibly supportive and has really helped me to find my feet and the ILM has been fantastic too. Within a few hours of signing up I had had all the materials through and I could start straight away.

“This is a role I am very passionate about and am really enjoying, especially the way different charities work together, something I wasn’t aware of before. It’s very much a collaborative and community approach and everyone is very helpful.”

Laura Simpson-Toyn

Laura Simpson-Toyn

For Laura Simpson-Toyn, Assistant Legacy Officer, at Lincolnshire equine charity Bransby Horses, the role she took up in February 2022 combines both her love of horses and her legal knowledge.

“I qualified as a solicitor and specialised in personal injury and clinical negligence work for many years. I also did civil legal work for the police for two years before I came here, but I wanted a change and it was very fortuitous when I saw the role advertised,” says Laura.

“It was my first legacy position and I love doing legacy work. It is such a positive thing to do because it is so kind of people to create a legacy for our charity in their will and without legacies we would not be able to achieve all that we do.”

The charity, founded in 1968, now cares for nearly 1,000 horses, donkeys, ponies and mules at its two locations in Lincolnshire and through equine foster homes around the UK.

Laura said: “I am thrilled to be one of the two lucky recipients of the 2023 Legacy Futures Crispin Ellison Bursary Award and I am looking forward to studying towards the ILM’s Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration (CiCLA).

“Bransby Horses relies solely on support from the general public to help us continue our rescue, rehabilitation, welfare and community work and the majority of our income comes from the legacies created by our kind supporters.

“I hope that gaining this qualification and receiving mentoring will broaden my knowledge base enabling me to carry out my role as an Assistant Legacy Officer for the charity to the best of my ability and to progress my career in the world of legacies!”


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