Islanders have been saying "thank you”, and “happy 80th" to a multi-millionaire resident, who’s made hundreds of pensioners’ Christmases that little bit more special.
Every Christmas since he turned 70 Sir David Kirch has given out food vouchers to anyone over 70 living in the Island who’s wanted to claim them. At first the vouchers were worth £100, but recently – to keep up with inflation – that was upped to £110. It’s estimated he’s handed out more than £10m in vouchers.
But his generosity doesn’t end there. In 2012 he announced he would be leaving all of his £100m fortune to charity. In 2013, he appeared at the top of The Sunday Times Giving List. Later that year he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services as a philanthropist to senior citizens of Jersey."
Mr Kirch moved to the island in 1973 after a successful career in property.
To thank him for his generosity Age Concern threw a birthday bash earlier this week, as did the Town Hall on Friday. Constable Simon Crowcroft said “...it’s the least we can do to honour someone who has touched so many people’s lives.”
The assembly hall was packed with tables: pensioners grouped together under the various parishes so that the whole Island was represented.
Sir David described the event as “truly fantastic." He went on to say: “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than with so many of the people I’ve helped. I’ve been really moved by seeing and hearing from them.”
But, perhaps that birthday party can be topped. Today – Saturday – is his actual birthday. His plans: in his words “to celebrate it quietly.” That means a marquee in his garden at Grouville, with 50 of his best friends – some of them having come over from England, and the Band of the Island of Jersey!
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