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The Iris Allingham Trust, supporting health services

An unexpected bequest has been helping local Box Hill residents for more than three decades.

Iris Allingham lived her entire life in Victoria’s Box Hill. When she died in 1990, Iris made an incredible gesture, leaving her estate to the organisation at the heart of her community: Eastern Health Box Hill Hospital.

“Her family home was near the site of the hospital, so she would have lived through seeing it built in the mid-1950s,” says Mikaela Figgis, Philanthropy Manager at the Eastern Health Foundation, which raises funding for Box Hill Hospital and several hospitals across the eastern region of Melbourne.

“There's no record of Iris or her husband being a patient or staff member at Box Hill Hospital. She was just part of a very strong, long-term family in the area and her bequest was part of that – to give back to the community that she lived in.”

That community spirit is why the Eastern Health Foundation’s bequest program is being officially re-named in her honour as the Iris Allingham Society.

The Iris Allingham Trust, which is managed by Equity Trustees, is a charitable trust, established to provide a gift every year in perpetuity. For over 30 years, this annual gift has supported important health services such as medical research, scholarships, patient wellbeing initiatives, and lifesaving medical equipment. 

“Over the years we’ve been able to fund many research projects and scholarships for our staff to undertake further training, and more recently her gift provided bladder scanners for the hospital and will be supporting pet therapy, where therapy dogs come into the oncology ward to provide a really calming and lovely experience for patients having their cancer treatment.”

Box Hill, which is about 21 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, was a small suburb in Iris’ time. She married former WWI soldier Alfred John Allingham in 1949 and they moved to 22 Kangerong Rd, Box Hill, one of the original houses in the area and just a few streets from the hospital, which was established in 1956.

The area is now densely populated and home to a diverse multicultural population. Box Hill Hospital is now the largest hospital in the Eastern Health catchment. Across the eastern region of Melbourne, Eastern Health provides 1.36 million episodes of patient care each year

While Box Hill has changed dramatically since Iris’ time, her gift continues to help the local community and inspire others.

“We're encouraging our supporters to leave a similar legacy to Iris, which can help look after their families and the community for generations to come. They’ll be able to be a part of research, scholarships, patient wellbeing and medical breakthroughs.”

For more information on how to support a cause or organisation that you care about visit Philanthropy