Fisherman's Friend: Family issue update on £41m fortune left to charity by tycoon Doreen Lofthouse

A huge £41 million fortune left by Fisherman’s Friend boss Doreen Lofthouse to charity in her will was not a cash amount, her family has clarified.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The business pioneer and philanthropist - who turned Fleetwood-based lozenge-maker Fisherman’s Friend into a global brand - left the giant legacy to charity in her will, following her death in March 2021 aged 91.

Doreen was more than a phenomenal businesswoman who turned the confectionary firm which made the cough lozenges, Lofthouse of Fleetwood Ltd, into a multi-million pound operation.

Read More
Blackpool tram shelter scheme among latest plans approved
Doreen Lofthouse was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Wyre and awarded the OBEDoreen Lofthouse was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Wyre and awarded the OBE
Doreen Lofthouse was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Wyre and awarded the OBE
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She also donated millions of pounds to carefully chosen projects in Fleetwood which she believed would have a lasting benefit to the town.

There has been considerable speculation about the fortune since reports in the national media back in October 2021 that Doreen had left the sum to the Lofthouse Foundation, which she set up with family in 1994 to help refurbish her hometown of Fleetwood.

With no news about the fund in nearly 18 months since reports about her will, questions have been asked on social media about what is happening with such a vast amount of money.

However, Doreen’s son Duncan Lofthouse says reports about the fortune were misleading, as the fund is not predominantly in cash, as had been surmised.

Doreen Lofthouse with husband Tony Lofthouse (Left) and son Duncan Lofthouse outside the Fleetwood base in 1990.Doreen Lofthouse with husband Tony Lofthouse (Left) and son Duncan Lofthouse outside the Fleetwood base in 1990.
Doreen Lofthouse with husband Tony Lofthouse (Left) and son Duncan Lofthouse outside the Fleetwood base in 1990.

What is happening with the legacy?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Duncan Lofthouse, a trustee of the Lofthouse Foundation, said this week: “The media reports were misleading in that the bequest from Doreen was largely in the form of shares in Lofthouse of Fleetwood Ltd and not a cash legacy totalling £41m.

"The Trustees of the Lofthouse Foundation are taking professional advice as to how best to set up the charity moving forward.”

Mr Lofthouse confirmed the amount was £41m.

How Doreen Lofthouse helped Fleetwood

Although neither a native of the town nor a resident – she grew up in Over Wyre and lived for many years in Thornton – Doreen came to love the fishing port and its people.

Apart from being one of the town’s biggest employers, she resolved to become a beneficiary of the town by donating to projects she saw as beneficial to the community.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

These included investing £1.6 million into the renovation of Fleetwood Hospital and millions more into other civic works, including a new children's playground, improvements to the promenade and part of Fleetwood's shopping centre - now named Fisherman's Walk.

Mrs Lofthouse also funded the statue of Eros, which sits proudly at the gateway to Fleetwood in the middle of the busy Amounderness Way roundabout.

In addition, she part-funded the relief Mersey class lifeboat, ‘Fisherman's Friend' in 1993.

From shop girl to business pioneer and philanthropist

Shop worker Doreen, who left school with no qualifications, quickly realised the potential of the eucalyptus and menthol sweets after taking over the company in 1963.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She transformed its fortunes by convincing shopkeepers, including Boots, to stock the cough sweets. Five billion packets of Fisherman's Friends are now sold in more than 100 countries every year.

Doreen leaves behind a son from her first marriage, Duncan, who still runs the business.

In December 2007 it was announced that Doreen was to be awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list and she was also granted the Freedom of the Borough of Wyre.