A cough is worth $56.3 million.
At least that’s the case for the English town of Fleetwood, where Doreen Lofthouse, the late businesswoman who helped turn Fisherman’s Friend lozenges into a global brand, bequeathed a 41.1 million pound fortune to the Lancashire County community, the BBC reported.
She donated the fortune to the Lofthouse Foundation, which she and her family set up in the 1990s to invest in their hometown, a seaport on the Irish Sea up the coast from Liverpool.
It was a fitting move by a woman known as “the mother of Fleetwood” who regularly supported local public projects. She died in March at the age of 91.
The foundation has helped fund floodlights for the local soccer club, bought a lifeboat for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and “welcome home” statues for fishermen and their families.
Fleetwood is where pharmacist James Lofthouse first developed his lozenges in 1865. The story goes that Lofthouse developed a eucalyptus and menthol elixir after three fisherman with sore throats tried and failed to tell him about their catch. He later turned the elixir into lozenges.
Doreen Lofthouse married James’ grandson, Tony, in the 1960s, when the brand was little known outside the fishing community.
Lofthouse later became director of the company, modernizing its operations, moving to retail and spearheading its expansion abroad. The company now produces about five billion lozenges a year.
Her charity work garnered awards from the British government, including MBE and OBE honors. Shortly after those awards were stolen in 2009, Lofthouse gave “hundreds of thousands of pounds” to Lancashire police. Some Fleetwood residents want the town to erect a memorial for Lofthouse as well.
Fleetwood Town Council Vice Chairman Mary Stirzaker said the town will work “to identify projects that will benefit the town for years to come.”
“We have got to keep Fleetwood on the map,” she said. “I hope that this brings more visitors to our town.”
[BBC] — Dennis Lynch