Norwich builder William Hamlin leaves almost £1m to student scheme

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Ziggurat halls of residence, UEAImage source, Geograph/N Chadwick
Image caption,
William Hamlin's legacy will help non-privileged students at the University of East Anglia

A builder who wanted to help "the man on the street" has left almost £1m to help non-privileged students.

William Hamlin built and rented five homes to students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich before his death at the age of 76 in 2013.

His sister, Alison, said he always wanted to help those who had ideas but not the means to execute them.

His legacy will allow students to bid for business funding under a UEA scheme likened to TV's Dragons' Den.

Mr Hamlin had left a letter with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which deliberated over how best to carry out his wish to help "the man on the street".

His sister added: "My brother wasn't very clever in school but he was always very practical and resourceful.

"He liked gardening, and as a teenager he sold the vegetables he grew to the local community."

Students from less advantaged financial backgrounds can apply for a portion of UEA Enterprise Fund - from £7,500 to £50,000 - and pitch their business idea to professionals and UEA alumni.

David Stead of CAF said: "Starting a new business is tough, and access to finance is not always readily available, especially for those without the right connections or family funds.

"Empowering young creative minds is essential, and it is great being involved in a project where we can support their ideas and inspire others for the future."

Prof David Richardson, vice-chancellor at UEA, said Mr Hamlin's gift would enable entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to "create good in the world for many generations to come"

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