Having served as a trustee for some years, David Todd, who grew up and lived most of his life in Farnham in The Bourne, was looking forward to assuming the role of chairman of Sampson’s Almshouses in April. 

His unexpected death at the end of January from a heart condition leaves his family and friends with great sadness. 

David was fully committed to the residents of Sampson’s and to continuing the good running of this long-standing Farnham charity.  

He would have wished and encouraged potential new trustees to come forward and offer their skills (see below article by Anne Kettles) to join the current trustees to ensure the long-term success of the charity. 

I accompanied Anne Kettles, the clerk of Sampson’s Almshouses, to distribute 16 bouquets of spring flowers to the residents to say ‘farewell’ from David.  

The surprised residents responded with a warmth and appreciation of David that was lovely; the gesture proved to be a therapeutic one for me following the day of David’s funeral at St Thomas-on-The Bourne.

Donations in memory of David for the benefit of Sampson’s Almshouses (now standing at more than £600) may be made at https://david-stephen-todd.muchloved.com

Denise Todd

Sampson's Almshouses in West Street, Farnham
Sampson's Almshouses in West Street, Farnham (Sampson's Almshouses)

Our charitable trust, founded in 1854, is the second oldest of the groups of almshouses that Farnham is fortunate to have. 

Many people know little about almshouses, which can be considered as the earliest charities in this country and the original form of social housing. The history of Sampson’s was covered in Peeps into the Past last year.

Today it is still going strong, with 16 houses on a site in West Street, providing much-needed housing for elderly people in a friendly community. 

The need for such housing will continue to be strong with an increasingly elderly population and a shortage of affordable housing. Vacancies are advertised when they occur, and suitable previous applicants are also contacted to ascertain their current interest. 

The three main criteria for a successful application are: genuine need, links to Farnham and being capable of independent living.

The selection of residents is one of the most important tasks of the six trustees responsible for the management of Sampson’s. The trustees are all unpaid volunteers and interest from potential trustees is always welcome. 

There is a particular need for new trustees this year with some incumbents reaching the end of their term. The trustees are supported by a part-time paid clerk and by a local firm of property managers to oversee repairs and maintenance of the houses and grounds.

The role of a trustee is a rewarding one to those with an empathy for elderly people, and with an interest in housing. 

Those qualities are found in all our trustees, along with a wish to contribute to the community. Specific skills are always welcome in areas such as housing management and maintenance, grounds and gardens, welfare and safeguarding, and finance. 

A trustee is not an onerous role, with four formal meetings a year; each trustee is asked to take responsibility for an aspect of the charity’s business, using so far as possible the trustee’s skills and interests. 

An important part of the role is to have contact with the residents, so problems can be identified, whether those concerning the property or of a personal nature. 

Trustees try to ensure a good community spirit and mutual support of residents. Shortly before Christmas, all residents were invited to a social gathering over tea and cakes with the trustees.

More information about Sampson’s can be found at www.sampsonsalmshouses.co.uk from where an application may be made, or by email to the clerk at [email protected]

Anne Kettles