The Trust recognizes the outstanding contribution made by Frank Hitchman to sustain us for over a decade. None of our work would have been possible without the commitment of Frank Hitchman.
Frank led a group of people who raised around £3million to create the Iris Murdoch Building which was the first dementia friendly public building in the world when it was opened in 2003. His vision for the Trust was for something different from the lobbying role of advocacy groups and complementary to their work. His focus was on what is practical and makes a difference, and to deliver this at low cost or free to people who could not afford it. His dogged determination to make this work, and his wise counsel to the Trust over many years had a huge impact.
In his personal contribution Frank created an amazing range of cultural events that brought money into the Trust. Examples include an art exhibition, where a percentage of the sales was donated to the Trust. When the sales got slow, he bought pictures himself. It raised tens of thousands of pounds. He arranged for a harpsichord concert in the Signet Library in Edinburgh. These are just examples. He has used all his contacts in the arts world to put on premium events that brought friends to support the work of the centre. His energy, and capacity to get others to open their cheque book is legendary. His friend the Countess of Wemyss opened her home for a fundraising gala dinner and concert. He persuaded Dame Judi Dench to formally open the Iris Murdoch Building and become a patroness of the Trust; a role that she continues fourteen years on bringing much needed publicity that also attracts resources.
Frank had a great financial career but amusingly described himself as a “double entry book keeper”. In that role he presided over the finances of the Dementia Services Development Trust committee. In this volunteer role he wrestled with minor complications of small amounts of cash that made a huge difference to a lot of people, in exchange for a cup of black coffee and a biscuit. After a career at the top, as the finance director of a global oil company, that is devotion indeed
Frank diffidently accepted an honorary degree from the University of Stirling in recognition of the fact that many millions have been donated through the Trust to the work of the DSDC. He allowed us to name the gallery in the Iris Murdoch Building “the Frank Hitchman Gallery” but the brass plate had to be modest in size, and near the coat racks. He will be greatly missed.