Remembering our Founding Chairman, Edward “Ted” Gostling CBE

Despite our charity being relatively young, its roots go back to 1947 when, in post-war Britain, the aviation industry was expanding and to meet the housing demand for growing staff numbers, the British Airways Staff Housing Society (BASH) was formed to provide affordable homes to rent in areas close to London’s Airports.

In 1987 BASH demerged from British Airways and became the Airways Housing Society (AHS) with Ted Gostling as its Deputy Chair. In the early 90’s the UK was in recession and Ted was increasingly concerned that a number of people that had previously worked in the aviation industry had fallen on hard times and he had a real desire to help support them and their families. In 1994, with the support of his fellow AHS Directors, Ted set up and chaired the charitable arm of AHS, The Airways Charitable Trust (ACT), to provide assistance to people in need across the aviation industry.

ACT was registered as an independent charity (number 1068617) with the Charity Commission in 1998 with Ted as its Founding Chair. Through the years, the charity’s objectives expanded and evolved to include all disadvantaged members of society and Ted and his team undertook many different projects.  

The name change into The ACT Foundation came in 2004 and recognised this wider non-aviation remit. Ted retired as Chair of ACT in 2005 becoming President Emeritus but he never lost his passion for helping others.  He continued to support us by offering advice and guidance whenever it was needed and by mentoring new members of the team.  Through his initial endeavors to the present day some £75 Million has been provided to support worthy causes, turning his ‘charitable dream’ to reality and thus, through his foresight and passion, we have been able to help tens of thousands of people transform their lives.

Ted was awarded the CBE for his service to the voluntary sector in The New Year Honours List in 2011.

Sadly Ted passed away in October 2018 shortly after his 90th birthday however his charitable dream lives on.  In February 2019 we received Regulatory approval to rename The ACT Foundation to The Edward Gostling Foundation as Trustees felt this would be a fitting way to honour the wonderful, charitable person that Ted was and to keep him “involved” as he always was and always will be!