A marvelous lady from Dublin has stunned the Scottish festival organizers by giving it the single biggest gift in the festival’s 47-year history.
Edinburgh International Festival was selected by the recently deceased kind soul with a vision to help support young artists and cultivate their talent.
Lean Scully, a veteran public relations consultant, died last year at age 72, she had religiously attended the international festival for more than a decade.
Sir Brian McMaster, director of the festival, which officially opens today, had this to say: “This is the type of bequest arts organizations dream about, Lean’s been a regular visitor for the last 10 years. She was very passionate about the arts.”
“She was a lovely person but we had no idea of her wealth, she didn’t flaunt it. She had a wonderful turn of phrase. Some said she was lonely but she was a big partygoer, she loved to have a drink.”
This year her legacy is helping to pay for the appearance of the pianist Llyr Williams with the Minnesota Orchestra, and a staging of Schumann’s Manfred, which features several young artists performing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Scully was a member of the festival’s Muse supporters programme to which she gave just €70 a year, and liked to go on trips run for festival supporters.
Scully was considered one of the pioneers of public relations in Ireland. She worked in Peter Owens advertising agency in the late 1960s and then set up her own company, Lean Scully PR, based in Leeson Park. Among her clients was Lord Henry Mount Charles and Slane Castle.
Jim Dunne, former editor of Business & Finance, said: “It surprises me. I knew there was money in PR but I didn’t know there was that much. Lean was very good company.”
Very good, indeed.