A FUND which has lain dormant since it was set up to help the poor in the 17th century has finally started handing out money.

William Lawtie's Mortification fund, which has a pot of around £100,000, has awarded £500 to a man who has lost his eyesight.

The award has enabled Bruce Cruickshank, 29, to buy a computer which he hopes will open up a range of job opportunities.

Loading article content

The former heavy plant driver lost his sight two years ago due to diabetes.

Mr Cruickshank, who lives with his wife Stephanie, a dental nurse, at Lintmill, near Cullen, Banffshire, said he was grateful to the trustees for the award.

William Lawtie was a burgess of Cullen which meant he owned property and was entitled to vote in burgh elections. It was actually set up by John Lawtie, thought to be William's brother or father in 1650.

William left the administration of the fund to a friend and thereafter to a descendant in each succeeding generation.

The role of trustee later fell to successive town clerks of Cullen and, following local government re-organisation in the mid- 1970s, to Moray councillors.

The fund lay dormant for many years until in April Moray Council invited applications.

Mr Cruickshank, who had to give up work two-and-a-half years ago, said: "Stephanie had a laptop which was 10 years old and had seen better days, and with just one wage coming into the house we would not have been able to afford a computer without the money from the fund."