Most inspirational “Legacy Leavers”

17 March 2014        

William Shakespeare

Research out today has revealed the top ten most inspirational figures in history that have left a legacy behind after their death.

Our poll was commissioned to mark the launch of our legacies campaign, which aims to inspire people to leave a gift in their Will to the charity in order to fund vital research to fight heart disease.

When asked to choose famous figures who they thought had left the greatest legacies, those polled rated the following as the 10 most inspirational.

Top ten

  1. Marie Curie – physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize
  2. Albert Einstein – physicist who developed the theory of relativity
  3. William Shakespeare – English poet, playwright and actor
  4. Nelson Mandela – South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist
  5. Mother Teresa – founded the Missionaries of Charity and recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize
  6. Florence Nightingale – celebrated British social reformer and statistician, the founder of modern nursing
  7. Winston Churchill – Prime Minister and wartime leader
  8. Lady Diana, Princess of Wales
  9. Lord Nuffield – Britain's "greatest ever philanthropist"- who gave away millions of his fortune to charitable causes
  10. Edward Jenner – physician and scientist, who pioneered the smallpox vaccine.

Being remembered

The research also looked at ways of being remembered. Over a third (34%) of those polled said a tree being planted was a fitting tribute. Giving back to society was seen to be important, with over one in ten (16%) of those wanting to leave a legacy to a charity in their Will.

Every week around 2,000 families lose someone they love to heart disease.

Our Legacy Marketing Manager, Sarah Dalling said: “Whilst we can’t all hope to win a Nobel Prize or write a play that is still performed hundreds of years after it was written, leaving a gift in your Will is something anyone can easily arrange and that will make a real difference to other people’s lives.

“Every week around 2,000 families lose someone they love to heart disease. Our pioneering research, funded by people leaving gifts in Wills helps us make life-saving discoveries, save more lives and keep more families together." 

Find out about leaving a gift