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Our history

Following Airey's assassination in March 1979, a flood of donations was received, sent by friends, constituents, and members of the public.  His family and colleagues decided to use the money received to found a Memorial Trust Fund, with a Board of Trustees chosen to ensure that funds raised would be used for purposes of which Airey would have approved.  They decided to support the Freedom for which he had fought, and the Law which he had practised under the banner of Freedom under the Law

The first chairman of the Trustees was Sir John Tilney, a former MP and close colleague of Airey.  He was succeeded in 1981 by Sir Humphrey Atkins (later Lord Colnbrook), a former minister of Northern Ireland, and then in 1983 by Ian Gow until he too was murdered by the IRA in 1984.  He was succeeded in 1990 by Sir Adam Butler, who had been the Minister for Economic Development in Northern Ireland.  In 2000, Dame Veronica Sutherland, previously UK ambassador to Ireland, and formerly a secretary to Airey took over from Adam.  She was succeeded in 2011 by John Giffard, a former Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police and Airey's nephew.  The personal connections with Ireland and with Airey have been continuous.

The trust, from its inception, has supported research projects, with an emphasis on combating terrorism.