Reclusive Highcliffe widow leaves £148,000 aid legacy to Christchurch Rotary Club
A RECLUSIVE Highcliffe widow left a near-£150,000 legacy to Christchurch Rotary Club with instructions to use it to help people in deprived countries.
Constance Beard had no family or relatives, and told her solicitor, Rotary club member David Richardson, that she wanted to "do some good in the world”.
Mr Richardson said: “She was a lovely lady. I suggested that she choose some reputable charities and discussed the wide range of options.
“Mrs Beard felt strongly that she wanted to help ‘really deserving people’ and was already aware of the dreadful problems in some third world countries through lack of access to clean water and sanitation.”
He said that as result she decided to name Water Aid as one of the chosen charities she wanted the Rotary club to help with her legacy.
Mrs Beard also wanted some of her £148,000 to go to a charity which helps save people's eyesight in the third world knowing, Mr Richardson said, that it could present an “opportunity for the lives of many individuals to be transformed by optical interventions at relatively modest cost”.
Paying tribute to her, club spokesperson Richard Reader said: “She decided to leave this considerable sum to the Rotary club, with clear guidance as to how it should be spent, which the club is at pains to observe.
“It is a fitting tribute to a lovely but very private lady, and the club is delighted to make her intervention more widely known.”
So far £70,000 of Mrs Beard’s legacy has been spent, with part of it going to a WaterAid project in the Dolakha region of Nepal.
The area is one of the least developed in the country and is home to a hill tribe of the Thami community numbering 30,000.
Currently villagers have to spend four hours carrying 25kg loads of water up steep mountain paths.
The project will provide a piped water supply to individual households.
Mike Devall, chair of Christchurch Rotary’s international committee, said: “We are making a substantial contribution of £50,000 from Mrs Beard‘s legacy to the Dolakha project, and are happy to join Water Aid’s other donors in making possible this very worthwhile scheme.
“By supporting Water Aid, we know that all the money will be correctly spent on improving the situation of people in real need.”