In Death, UK Widow Leaves Neighbors Surprise Gifts

May 28, 2009 06:00 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A recently deceased widow left more than $500,000 to residents of the small seaside village where she lived, joining the ranks of others who have left similarly surprising sums.

A "Wonderful and Charming Lady"

Margaret Allan was openly appreciative of her neighbors' care and concern after her husband's death nearly 20 years ago, and when her own her own health began to deteriorate. Still, the villagers and various businesses in Solva, a village in Pembrokeshire, U.K., where Allan lived, did not expect 400,000 pounds (about $630,000) to be left to them in her will, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Included in the sum of the 90-year-old widow's bequest were thousands of dollars to churches, animal charities, the local conservation association and a surgery center. Allan also left a generous sum for the Solva Luncheon Club's Christmas drinks. Fellow villager, 86-year-old Peggy Evans, told the Daily Telegraph, "This generosity is completely in character and villagers are delighted she has remembered them."

Background: Solva, Pembrokeshire Coast

Solva, where Allan and her husband relocated 30 years ago, is a small seaside village in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Learn about relaxing outdoor and cultural activities in the scenic West Wales coastal hideaway, such as walking, sailing and gallery hopping at Solva Online, a Solva travel site. Several charming bed and breakfast inns are also listed.

Related Topic: Unexpected wills

Like Allan, other widows have left behind surprising sums to unsuspecting friends and charitable organizations.

In April, the will of Jane M. Buri, a devoted school social worker, was received by the St. Louis probate court; the will distributed about $1.3 million to Buri's friends, relatives and favorite charities. But many of those included in Buri's will couldn't figure out how she had amassed such a personal fortune. She was known for being frugal: She drove a 30-year-old car and lived in a home purchased for cash in 1969. Her ability to save so thoughtfully and carefully served as a lesson in frugality and charity to many, according to findingDulcinea.

In December 2008, rich Scottish widow Grace Smith left animal welfare organizations 7 million pounds (about $11 million). Smith was the widow of a wealthy "retired consultant surgeon," and was an avid stock market investor. Her two rescue dogs, Winnie and Harry, noshed on steak instead of kibble and were also left "a fortune" in her will, according to The Scotsman.

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