Philanthropist leaves Napier university £750k to support classical music

Ian Tomlin.
Ian Tomlin.
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A long-time university backer has left £750,000 in his will to support young classical musicians.

Philanthropist Ian Tomlin’s legacy gift to Edinburgh Napier University, the largest ever received, matches support through scholarships and annual donations during his lifetime.

His support for music at the university established the Ian Tomlin centre for music and a clinic for hearing disabilities at the former Craighouse campus, and continues at Merchiston as part of the school of arts and creative industries.

The legacy will be used to fund “the study, teaching and performance of classical music” providing masterclasses, specialist lessons, workshops and concerts as well as investing in equipment and teaching resources.

Dr Tomlin, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the university in 1995, settled in Hong Kong and initially worked for trading company Butterfield and Swire.

In 1995 he helped establish a trust which provided scholarships to students from Hong Kong to study at Edinburgh Napier.

Dr Tomlin continued his support for the university after he retired to Malta and set up the Malta/Napier Music Scholarship Trust, which gave young Maltese music students the chance to study performance and composition in Edinburgh.

Nicholas Ashton, co-programme leader for BMus (Hons) at Edinburgh Napier, said: “The training of these young people would not have been possible were it not for Ian’s extraordinary, selfless generosity.

“He was the epitome of the philanthropist, a man who was driven by the desire to promote the welfare of others, and we are delighted his influence will continue to be felt here as his legacy gift supports the careers of the promising classical musicians of the future.”

Dr Tomlin died in hospital in Malta on January 11, 2016.