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North-east woman, 97, leaves £1.3m fortune to charity in will

Cousins Ina Graham, Nessie Bruce, and Dorothy Coventry.
Cousins Ina Graham, Nessie Bruce, and Dorothy Coventry.

A 97-year-old Aberdeen woman who left almost her entire £1.3 million of life savings to charity has been hailed for her generosity.

Agnes “Nessie” Bruce died in January and had insisted that her estate be divided up between 20 good causes across Scotland.

These ranged from national campaigns including Cancer Research and the RNLI through to local causes such as the Aberdeen branch of The Salvation Army and north-east social care organisation VSA.

Mrs Bruce lived in Thorngrove House in Mannofield before moving to Tor-Na-Dee care home in her later years.

She tied the knot to chemistry teacher Sandy Bruce in 1969 and the pair regularly went on holidays up until his death in 2002.


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Her closest relative, Gordon Coventry, said it was on these excursions that she found the inspiration for many of the donations she planned to make after her death.

“She was my mother’s cousin, but they were brought up as sisters and she was like an aunt to me,” he said.

“She was just a really nice woman and enjoyed a long career in a senior role at a call centre and was a member of several knitting and needlework clubs.

“I remember many, many years ago she said to my mother and cousin that everything was going to charity – that’s just the way she was.

“She worked in Glasgow for a bit and went on a lot of holidays and these trips helped her to pick charities all across the country.”

Mrs Bruce’s donations, gathered during a lifetime of saving and careful investing, will be used to fund life-saving scientific research and vital social projects across the UK.

A spokesman for North East Sensory Services said: “Obviously we are delighted with Mrs Bruce’s donation.

“Generous gifts like this are more important than ever to allow us to continue our work.”

Fi Riley from The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the donation it received was much needed.

She added: “Without gifts left to the BHF in wills, we wouldn’t have been able to make as many breakthroughs as we have in the past 50 years.

“We need to continue to do this to beat heartbreak forever for the seven million people living with heart and circulatory diseases.”

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