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Document: Certificate from Serbian Relief Fund
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Title: Document: Certificate from Serbian Relief Fund
Identifier: 2005.1.166.1
Donor: Geoffrey and Kathleen Sayers
Item Date: 1918
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A certificate awarded to Geoffrey Sayers in recognition of his donation of L5.00 "to help found the British Orphanage in Serbia for the Children of Soldiers fallen in the War." The certificate is printed in dark blue, red, and gold ink and the name "Geoffrey Sayers-", the amount "L5.00" and "His" is handwritten in black ink. A gold printed frame of acanthus leaves surrounds the text and elaborate heading. The heading consists of two banners on either side of a shield. The Union Jack and another red white and blue banded flag stand behind the banners to the left and right ends of the banners respectively. The banners contain the words "The Serbian" on the proper right and "Relief Fund" on the proper left. The shield consists of two white swans back to back on a red ground, A smaller dark blue shield with a white cross stands between them. The larger red shield is surmounted by a crown. The certificate is signed: "A.F. London"

The Serbian Relief Fund was created in September 1914 in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Serbia. It was supported and run for the most part by women. The first aid sent to Serbia was medical and by the end of 1914 the first teams of doctors and nurses had been sent. As the war progressed the SRF expanded its operations to aid Serbian refugees and prisoners of war. Later it was also involved in the education in Britain of a number of Serbian refugee boys. The decision to wind up the fund was taken by the Executive Committee in December 1920. It took several years before it was possible to conclude unfinished business and the funds remaining assets were transferred to the Nis Orphanage Trust which remained in operation until after the Second World War when it was taken over by the Yugoslav Government.

This item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (née Colloton) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf of the Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
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