Bristol’s slave-linked Colston Society to close down

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image captionProtesters knelt on the neck of the bronze statue of Colston before the statue was lowered into the harbour

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}A charity that continued the philanthropic work of slave trader Edward Colston will close down by the end of the year.

The Colston Society, founded in 1726, is the umbrella organisation for the Dolphin, Grateful and Anchor Societies.

On Friday its 130 members voted to disband the group on 31 December.

One trustee, Alastair Macarthur, said he hoped to set up a replacement organisation called the Redcliffe Charity to continue its important work.

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Bristol’s founding father?

The charity states in its .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}governing document that it was set up to “assist with the social and educational needs in the Parish of St Mary Redcliffe”.

As a merchant, Colston joined the Royal African Company in 1680.

During his time there, he was involved in decisions that saw 84,500 enslaved men, women and children transported by ship in horrendous conditions from Africa to the Americas. Some 19,300 died and were thrown overboard.

Colston also donated money to local schools and set up almshouses in the city for the poor.

Local landmarks were named after him and the community helped to raise money to build a statue to celebrate Colston’s life.

bristols slave linked colston society to close down 1 - Bristol's slave-linked Colston Society to close down
image captionThe statue of Edward Colston was dragged through Bristol before being thrown into the harbour

Children’s centre refurbishment

Campaigners spent decades calling for the statue to be removed and protesters at the Black Lives Matter rally took matters into their own hands and pulled it down in June. They symbolically lowered the statue into Bristol harbour.

The latest accounts from 2018 show the charity raised and spent £62,000, keeping £15,000 in reserves.

About £32,000 was spent on Outward Bound courses for pupils at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.

Another £10,000 was spent on the appointment of a Community Youth Development Worker by St Mary Redcliffe and £20,000 was given to refurbish the new premises for Redcliffe Children’s Centre.

The BBC has approached the campaign group, Countering Colston for comment.

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