Famous philanthropist to take over the running of award-winning Lavenham Brook farm

Nick Thomson is pictured at Lavenham Brook Farm in Brent Eleigh near Lavenham

Nick Thomson is pictured at Lavenham Brook Farm in Brent Eleigh near Lavenham - Credit: Archant

One of the UK’s most influential philanthropists is set to take over the running of an award-winning Suffolk farm.

Lady Victoria Getty, widow of billionaire Sir Paul Getty, is understood to be due to complete the purchase of Lavenham Brook farm at Brent Eleigh by the end of January, having exchanged contracts earlier this month.

The daughter of a Suffolk farmer whose charitable trust hands out millions each year to good causes, it is believed Lady Getty will keep the farm together and could even take Lavenham Brook’s Red Poll cattle back to the show ring.

Nick Thomson, the outgoing owner of the 52.37 hectare site, which includes an orchard and a highly respected vineyard, said he was delighted that he would be succeeded by Lady Getty.

“I couldn’t ask for a better buyer frankly. I’m hoping that I will meet her when we have completed, but I think she will be great and hopefully she’ll start showing the cattle again.”

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He added: “Everyone tells me she is a lovely lady. One couldn’t have done better quite frankly.

“She said during the process that once the transaction is complete she wants to meet up to talk about it.”

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Lady Getty, whose smile was famously used to plug Gibbs toothpaste in the seventies, took over the work of her husband as trustee of the J Paul Getty Jr charitable trust after his death.

American-born Sir Paul Getty is thought of as one of the most generous philanthropists Britain has ever seen. He once described philanthropy as “my duty” and his charitable gifts were believed to have totalled well over £100million.

The sum of £50 million went in a single gift to the National Gallery, and another £50 million - reflecting Getty’s special interest in cinema - to the British Film Institute. He also famously gave £5m for the cleaning and restoration of the West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral and donated another £5m to the Conservative Party after its second crushing election defeat in 2001.

He also participated in the first Countryside March.

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