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Match helps Northumberland-born painter create travel scholarship for artists

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A talented and successful Northumberland painter and philanthropist has established a travelling scholarship to inspire the next generation of young North East artists, supported by a matchfunding scheme run by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Edwin Easydorchik was born in Stannington and spent his childhood in Newbiggin-by-the-sea. He emigrated to Sydney, Australia, 29 years ago but has never forgotten his North East roots or the philanthropy that helped him get started as a young artist. In 1971 he was awarded the Sir James Knott Travelling Scholarship from the Royal College of Art, allowing him to tour Italy for six months.

Edwin said: “My travelling scholarship has such a profound effect on me and it proved to be pivotal moment in my career. I was 22, had never been abroad and my grand tour of Italy has had a massive effect on my life and on my art. It opened my eyes, I met some tremendous people, learned Italian and enjoyed the most magical experiences and opportunities that have influenced my whole life.

“I wanted to do something similarly special for young artists back home in the North East and decided to set up the Edwin John Easydorchick Travelling Scholarship at the Community Foundation to give them the same experience and opportunities that I’d had.

“I’m not married and I don’t have children, but I’ve spent most of my life teaching young people. It was important to me to give something back to young artists from the North East that are just starting out. There’s support for older, more established artists but there’s not a lot of help for younger artists and those are the people I wanted to help.

“The Community Foundation told me about their Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match where my donation would attract additional funds which has enable me to grow the fund more quickly.”

Using Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match – which still has funds available until the end of April 2018 – Edwin saw his total investment of £80,000 to date grow to over £120,000. 

The scholarship fund will make one award per year and has just made its first grant to 24-year-old Gateshead artist Jon Cornbill, who will travel to the rustbelt of America.

Edwin added: “I plan to leave my house to the scholarship fund so I’m hoping that in the future we can increase the number of scholarships to help two young artists every year.”

The renowned painter has showcased his art in over 18 solo exhibitions and 84 group exhibitions around the globe – and his work is displayed in collections of the British Council, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the University of Western Sydney as well as numerous international private collections.

About Mr Murray and his Million Pound Match

Ronnie William Edward Murray is a name that will live on in North East Philanthropy. The retired master flour miller served in the Royal Navy during the war and was a keen ballroom dancer.

Ronnie had made provision for his extended family but he also wanted to help the broader community. He was keen to support local charities but didn’t have a specific benefactor in mind so a trusted friend and advisor suggested he make an unrestricted gift to the Community Foundation for the benefit of many groups for generations to come.

When Ronnie died in 2015, the Community Foundation wanted to do something really special with his rare gift so they decided to launch an initiative in his name – Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match.

Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match was set up in autumn 2016 to encourage individuals, families and businesses to give back to their local community. The challenge uses Ronnie’s legacy to offer match donations to people or companies wishing start or grow endowment funds at the Community Foundation.

To date, gifts and pledges into new and existing funds have unlocked match of £906,718 and there is £93,281 of match which is still available until the end of April 2018.

The minimum gift that can be matched for an existing or collective giving fund is £1,000, and there are a range of funds starting at £10,000 to £50,000 available.

The maximum amount of match funding available ranges from £10,000 to £50,000, depending on the type of fund.

To find out more about Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match, visit

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