Kind OAP leaves lasting legacy

MULTI-millionaire Joan Wedgwood left a slice of her £5m fortune as a lasting legacy for generations.

MULTI-millionaire Joan Wedgwood left a slice of her £5m fortune as a lasting legacy for generations.

Today tributes were being paid to the kind-hearted Higham villager.

The OAP benefactor, who was from a wealthy family, died leaving £130,000 in her will to conservation and animal charities and £30,000 to the village church she loved so much.

Ian Boothman, treasurer of St Mary's Church in Higham, near Stratford St Mary, said: "She has always been a very generous individual.

"A small village church like this, which is grade II listed has got to be maintained in accordance with the standards made by English Heritage and can be very expensive.

"The money she has left to the church means that we will be able to look after this building for many years to come."

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Of the £30,000 the caring 86-year-old former doctor and member of the Parochial Church Council, left £20,000 to the general upkeep of the church where she married and £10,000 to maintaining the clock, which she paid to get electrified when she was alive.

Mrs Wedgwood, nee Ball, came to Higham in 1942 after her mother, Lady Roll, bought Hill House.

She qualified as a doctor from the Royal Free Hospital in London and in 1944 joined the Indian Military Medical Corps and saw service in India and Burma at a time when it was still quite a challenge for women to establish themselves in medicine.

In 1947 she returned home to continue her medical career, working locally as a GP and did work with social services treating disturbed children. In 1964 she qualified in psychiatry.

She married in 1977 and together with her husband, Harold, a former church warden, built a new house on the old tennis court at Hill House, which was of futuristic design of steel and glass.

Mrs Wedgwood's cousin James Brook, of Higham, and his wife Margaret were delighted to hear of her donations. "She was a kind lady, so generous and very wise," said Margaret.

Mrs Wedgwood, who was looked after by family and staff at home, suffered a stroke and was taken to Colchester General Hospital where she died six days later on April 6.

She made several gifts to St Mary's Church in her lifetime including a screen which she donated in memory of her mother and late husband.

A keen animal and nature lover Mrs Wedgwood also left £50,000 to the RSPB, £50,000 to the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation, £20,000 to the World Wildlife Fund and £10,000 to the National Trust.

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