Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:44 UK

Widow leaves her village 400,000

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Betty Temple, one of the villagers who will benefit, says this display of generosity was completely in character

A village has been left £400,000 by a 90-year-old widow as a thank you for the welcome she had when she retired.

Margaret Allan moved to Solva in Pembrokeshire 30 years ago with husband Harry after leaving the Foreign Office.

Mr Allan died in 1990 but villagers helped his widow rebuild her life and cared for her in her final years.

In return, she has shared her estate among scores of individuals, groups and societies in the village as well as taking care of her ginger cat, Brutus.

Mrs Allan and her late husband used to holiday in the waterfront village, in St Bride's Bay, before retiring there.

With no children, they threw themselves into village life and soon were members of local social clubs, societies and the chapel.

She was popular with everyone but I think people were in a state of shock when they realised how generous she was to them
Neighbour Viv Phillips

When her husband died, it was the friends she had made that helped her through.

Mrs Allan is leaving up to £10,000 to more than a dozen of her close friends and carers.

She is also giving something to everyone over the age of 60 who has lived in the village for more than 20 years. Around 120 people are expected to receive about £500 each.

Her will even takes care of her companion in her final years, her ginger tom, Brutus.

It states: "To any person whom the executors agree to taking care of my cat to avoid it being put down or going into a cattery - the sum of £3,000."

Brutus has gone to live with Mrs Allan's neighbours Dave and Viv Phillips.

Solva, Pembrokeshire
Every long-standing Solva resident over 60 is to share in the estate

Retired BT engineer Mr Phillips, 56, said: "Margaret was a remarkable woman who was friends with everybody in the village.

"She and her husband built a house here when her husband retired and they quickly became part of the community.

"They were regulars at the local Ship Inn and she always entertained there on her birthdays.

"She was housebound for a while before she died but she was still so interested in the affairs of the village and the people here."

Mrs Phillips, 53, said: "Because they had no children they regarded the village as her family.

'Generous'

"She was popular with everyone but I think people were in a state of shock when they realised how generous she was to them."

The carers who looked after her in the last few years of her life had £25,000 to be shared between them.

The local memorial hall had £10,000 and the same amount went to local churches while Solva Luncheon Club had £5,000 to be spent on drinks at Christmas.

There was £2,000 to the Pembrokeshire Conservative Association, £5,000 to the local football club and £5,000 to the village surgery to improve patient facilities.

Badgers

As well as money for Brutus, local cat and dog charities had £15,000 and £1,000 went to a local badger group.

Her only living relative Jan-Petter Arseth, her paternal half-sister's grandson, who lives in Norway, had £10,000.

Mrs Allan left instructions that her ashes should be scattered in the rose bushes at the garden of her home at Anchor Down, Solva, as her husband's were 17 years earlier.

Villager Peggy Evans, 86, said: "Margaret was a kindly, wonderful and charming lady who always thought of other people.

"This generosity is completely in character and villagers are delighted she has remembered them."



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