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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 April, 2005, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
'Emigre' remembers Wales in will
Llanwenog Church
Llanwenog church will receive 100,000 from Mr Lewis' estate
A man who left Wales as a child has bequeathed his entire estate to Welsh organisations and a Ceredigion church.

Howel Vaughan Lewis owned properties in London, Cardiff, Swansea and Aberystwyth, and his estate is thought to run into millions of pounds.

Among the groups set to benefit in his will is the Welsh Language Society.

Mr Lewis died last month aged 87 and was buried in the graveyard at Llanwenog, near Lampeter in Ceredigion.

The businessman left Llanwenog when he was about nine and moved to London with his mother.

Despite living in England for most of his life, he maintained strong links with his home nation. This was reflected in the houses he owned and rented as they were all painted in the red and green of Wales.

His friends said the happiest day of his life was when people in Wales voted for the Welsh assembly
Rhiannon Lewis, Urdd Gobaith Cymru

Other groups set to receive a portion of his estate are Plaid Cymru, the Welsh youth movement Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Merched y Wawr (a Welsh language women's group) and Llanwenog's St Gwenog's church, which will receive 100,000.

Dafydd Morgan Lewis, of the Welsh Language Society in Aberystwyth, said the group would receive 50% of the estate.

"We welcome any gifts, but we won't be in a position to decide what to spend the money on because we don't know how much we're going to get," he said.

"It looks as though it's going to be a long time before we receive the money."

Chairwoman of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Rhiannon Lewis, said Mr Lewis' beneficiaries were invited to attend his funeral on 22 March.

"I had a phone call from Mr Lewis' executors and solicitors informing me that he had died and that we were invited to attend his funeral to learn more about him," said Mrs Lewis.

"We attended his funeral where we did learn quite a bit about him, particularly from his tenants who spoke about the kindness he showed to them."

Mr Lewis had moved to London in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Renovation work

"His friends said the happiest day of his life was when people in Wales voted for the Welsh assembly," she added.

"Apparently he had no close family and came back to Llanwenog to be buried with his mother."

Reverend Bill Fillery of St Gwenog's Church, where Mr Lewis has been buried in the same grave as his mother, said he and his parishioners were delighted.

"Some renovation work at the church is just being finished, but now we can now do more that we would not have considered a few months ago."

"We need a car park so we could build one using the money or buy a bit of land.

"We could also put in a security system in place that we would not have considered previously."

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