History of the Trusts

The Gibbons Family Trust was established in 1984 by Mr David Gibbons of Exmouth, Devon, and his sister, Miss Vera Gibbons of the Isle of Thanet in Kent.  However this Trust was largely dormant until February 2008, when David Gibbons died leaving one half of the residue of his substantial estate to the Gibbons Family Trust.

In his Will, David Gibbons also provided for the establishment of a new Charitable Trust, the David Gibbons Foundation, to which he left the other half residue of his estate.

David Gibbons’ death was followed shortly by the death of his sister. Miss Vera Gibbons died in August 2009 and gave the residue of her estate to the Gibbons Family Trust.

Shortly after both Trusts were then ready to begin to fulfill their objectives of making grants to worthy applicants who fit the selective criteria.


David Ernest Gibbons was born in Ramsgate in 1933 on the Isle of Thanet to parents Ernest and Francis and younger brother to Vera.

David’s early life suffered wartime disruption with evacuation to Burton-on-Trent. On leaving school he completed his National Service in the Army Catering Corps allowing him to further his knowledge and skills in catering.

He furthered his experience and expertise at several prestigious hotels in London before rising to become assistant manager at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, then the only 5 star hotel on the south coast.

His next stop was to manage the Rosemullion Hotel in Budleigh Salterton. His ambition was to develop his own business and aspired to buying the Devoncourt Hotel in Exmouth. However he first put his talents to work buying and developing the Riviera Hotel in Sidmouth. However within 2 years he was able to realise his dream buying the Devoncourt Hotel in Exmouth in 1964. He was able to extend and develop this hotel from 54 to 68 rooms and self contained flats. Many television celebrities were regular clients.

After the local government reorganisation in 1972 he was a founding member of the newly established East Devon District Council. He served as Chair or Vice Chair on all the major committees over the next 25 years. He was instrumental into shaping the Council into what it has become today by utilising his skills as a very shrewd businessman and financially astute principals. He became Chairman of the EDDC in 1982, renound for his forthright manner, sterling character and integrity.

David was diagnosed with cancer, aged 50 in 1983 but was typically tenacious dealing with his illness, despite several setbacks.He reduced his workload but continued his successful business and council life before retiring from official duty in 1998. He was made on Honorary Alderman of East Devon (only the 14th) in recognition of his outstanding service.

His energies allowed him to serve as director of the Hospice-care Exmouth as well as governor to Withycombe Raleigh Primary School and setting up the Exmouth Welfare Trust.   He lived in Colyton Raleigh for many years and later owned and ran the Cranford Nursing home where his parents lived out there final years under his supervision.

He will be remembered as the driving force behind the campaign for the indoor swimming pool in Exmouth.When he fully retired he lived in St Lawrence House on Foxholes Hill,  Exmouth.     David died in 2008.

Vera Gibbons was born in Ramsgate in Thanet on New Year’s Eve 1931.  Vera was only 7 when war was declared in 1939.  Vera gained a special place at the girls High School in Burton in 1942 and studied there for rest of the war before returning to Ramsgate in 1945. She attended Clarendon House Grammar School and graduated in 1948.  This gained her a job at Lloyds Bank in Margate. 

Lloyds bank became her professional life and she moved up the executive ladder that became the organisation and management arm of the business.   Vera was  also devoted to her parents looking after them until they moved down to Exmouth, Devon. Initially they lived in a Cottage before healthcare needs necessitated moving them into the Cranford Nursing Home owned by Vera’s brother  David.

When she retired from the bank she moved into the beautiful Fold Cottage in Colaton Raleigh in the grounds of her brother David’s house ‘Red Chimneys’.  Vera lived there until the properties were sold in 1995 when she decided to move back to Kent. 

She was very happy in Kent, developing a wide circle of friends especially the local bridge club. Sadly, she developed breast cancer in 2008 and died on 25 August 2009.