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Millionaire's 'surprise' legacy

21 December 07 13:46 GMT

A millionaire who "liked surprises" left £2m to charity in his will but nothing to the nephew who helped care for him.

John George White, 96, from Bristol, divided his estate between a boarding school in Surrey where he had no links, a church, and two other charities.

He left just £40,000 to family and nothing to nephew Richard, 67, his closest relative, living in Newport.

Mr White said he felt no bitterness and good causes would use the money well.

"I don't mind at all. It was his money and he could do what he liked with it," said Mr White, a married father-of-two, who worked in the construction industry before he retired.

"I'm not poor, but I'm not a millionaire. It would be nice to be one but I don't begrudge him. He liked to surprise people.

"I did used to visit him quite regularly and helped move him to his care home. I was his closest living relative and there are two cousins."

Mr White left £500,000 to Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey and a similar sum to hisl local methodist church at Keynsham near Bristol.

He then split £1m between the National Children's Home and the Camphill Village Trust, which educates people with special needs.

Modest life

A sum of £40,000 was given to set up an educational trust fund to help Mr White's great great nephews and nieces.

Mr White started his career peeling potatoes for the RAF.

But he made his money when Cadena, a business he ran which took failing restaurants and turned them into profitable concerns, was sold to Tesco in 1961.

But he lived a modest life in a residential care home in Bristol.

Paul Spencer Ellis, headteacher of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, said the donation was a complete shock.

He said the school - a state maintained, church-aided boarding school - was trying to find out who Mr White was, and why he left them such a generous gift.

He said: "We have no idea why he left this money to us - although we do think we do a very good job!"

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