Crispin Ellison Bursary: “It is so worth it!”

March 22, 2024

With just a week to go before the 29 March closing date for applications for this year’s Crispin Ellison Bursary Award, we spoke to Arian Thornton, Legacy Officer at Marie Curie, who was one of two recipients of the Award in 2023.

Having originally trained as a paralegal and worked in private practice, Arian joined the legacy sector in November 2022 and, nearly a year on from receiving her bursary, she reflects on how much it has helped her career.

  • What did winning the Crispin Bursary mean to you?

I hadn’t been working in charity legacy administration for very long when I applied for the Crispin Ellison Bursary, so I was absolutely delighted when I received the email to say I had won. It has been a real confidence boost to win and has shown me that I need to believe in myself more!

  • What was most important to you during your Bursary journey?

The role of a Legacy Officer is so varied, and with this being my first role in charity legacy administration, it was very important to me to be able to learn things from a charity perspective. Legacy Officers wear so many different hats and no two days are the same! I used the bursary towards my CiCLA (Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration) course fees, and I have found the course so interesting and insightful.

  • Has winning the award made a difference to your career and/or the way you work?

I have very recently successfully completed the CiCLA course and I learnt so much during my studies, particularly as I could integrate my learning into my day-to-day work. I’m terrible for doubting myself, so I think winning has made me realise that what I’m bringing to the team is valuable, and as a result I feel much more confident in the way I work and apply myself. It’s also really helpful having the course materials to hand if I ever come across something I’m not sure of.

  • Has the award also benefited your charity and/or your colleagues?

Absolutely. I work with such a fantastic team, and they have been so supportive whilst I’ve been studying. Legacy income is so vital to charities, and by completing the CiCLA, it has helped me make sure that I have the right skills and knowledge to successfully do the work that I do. I’m very proud to work in the sector – it’s rewarding knowing that I’m helping honour the wishes of those that remember charities so thoughtfully in their will.

  • What would you say to anyone thinking of applying for the Crispin Ellison Bursary?

It is so worth it! I’d recommend applying for the bursary to anyone who, like me, wants to develop and expand on their knowledge. The application process was very straightforward and didn’t take long to complete. When I received the email to say I had won, I let the team at the ILM know that I wanted to use the bursary towards my CiCLA fees, and within a few hours, I was signed up to the course and had my materials through, meaning I could get stuck in straight away.

  • What’s the one piece of advice you would give to this year’s award winners?

Attend the ILM Conference and award ceremony! It was a great opportunity to network and meet others in the sector. I would also highly recommend attending the CiCLA study sessions. They were so helpful in the lead up to the assessments.

The Crispin Ellison Bursary Award is named in memory of the ILM’s founding member and lifetime President. It is open to applicants from the UK who are seeking to enhance their professional development in the field of legacy administration and management. Each year, two recipients are chosen to receive a training package from the ILM up to the value of £1,000 each. Two winners will be announced at this year’s ILM conference on 10 May – to be in with a chance of receiving this huge financial boost, apply online by 29 March.

To submit a nomination for this year’s award, please click the link: Crispin Ellison bursary – Legacy Futures.

Read more on the Legacy Futures blog about Arian Thornton’s journey into charity legacy administration, her role as a Legacy Officer at Marie Curie, and her experience as a Crispin Ellison Bursary recipient: Being a Crispin Ellison Bursary recipient – Legacy Futures