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Studio naming ensures that University’s £28 Million anonymous benefactor loses her anonymity

Helen Marin Studio, Warwick Arts CentreAn “anonymous” Kenilworth woman who donated the equivalent of £28 million to the University is to have that anonymity completely overturned on November 22nd when a special event will be held to give her name to Warwick Arts Centre’s new studio.

Miss Helen Martin (1907-1988) was a Kenilworth resident for most of her life. She loved classical music and regularly attended classical concerts in Warwick Arts Centre’s Butterworth Hall. 

She was a most generous benefactor of the University of Warwick and from its earliest days used her income from the family business’ s holdings in the Heublein company to establish a trust fund that supported the University of Warwick to a total of what in today’s money would be £28 million.

That funding supported a range of projects including new student residences, student exchanges, sporting facilities and helped build and add to Warwick Arts Centre.

She insisted on her generosity being anonymous during her lifetime and was referred to by the University simply as ‘The anonymous benefactor’ and could only name the first set of residences built using her support as “Benefactors”.

University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

“Helen Martin’s name and her support for Warwick is now well known but despite her generosity being behind many of  University buildings none of them bear her name. Now we will put that right by naming this fine new studio created as the final part of the recent £8million redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre the ‘Helen Martin Studio’ “.

The studio naming will take place on Monday 22nd November at 6pm, at Warwick Arts Centre with a special ceremony that will feature short performances by young people whose talent the Helen Martin Studio is nurturing. Lady Butterworth, the wife of Warwick’s First Vice-Chancellor, will unveil a Plaque in Helen’s honour during the event. 

The Helen Martin StudioThe new Helen Martin Studio is built in a prominent position next to the Arts Centre’s main entrance and is clad in distinctive local red sandstone. It provides a well lit flexible environment for a huge range of creative activities and is already being used extensively by visiting artists, producing companies and local school children and young people as well as for student music and drama rehearsals.

Mr Vanni Treves Chairman of the charitable trust established with Helen Martin’s generosity said:

“I know Helen Martin would be delighted to know that the Trust she established nearly fifty years ago continues to support the development of the University of Warwick and the Arts Centre’s artistic programme to this day. “

For further details please conact:

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications
Communications Office, University House,
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom   
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708  Mobile/Cell:  +44 (0)7767 655860

PR162 22nd November 2010

Miss Helen Martin (Copyright Coventry Telegraph)

Miss Helen Martin (Copyright Coventry Telegraph)

martin_frontDownload a copy of The Martin Family and the University of Warwick (PDF Document)