A WOMAN has stunned her family and friends by leaving most of her secret £1.1 million fortune to help Scots suffering from cancer and heart disease.
Margaret Dickson, 72, had worked as a primary school teacher and a policewoman but lived modestly in her tenement flat in Glasgow’s east end.
She never married and died in March last year after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
Ms Dickson, described as frugal by friends, was an only child and had never shown signs of her huge wealth, although she was known to love travelling abroad.
She worked as a teacher at Ruchazie Primary School in Glasgow before moving to London in 1972 where she joined the Metropolitan Police Service.
In 1986 she retired from the force on health grounds after she was injured by falling scaffolding while on duty.
Ms Dickson never worked again and split her time between London and Glasgow until settling permanently in the city’s Riddrie area in 2005. She travelled widely and visited the Amazon during a holiday trip to South America.
Her published will has astonished her relatives, who revealed a stockbroker uncle had initially advised Ms Dickson on investing and shares.
Her cousin, Jean Brock, 63, said the fortune had surprised her and her husband Ian.
Mrs Brock, of Glasgow, said: “We were appointed as executors so we got to see her will and we were shocked to see how much money she actually had.
“She lived in a very nice but modest flat but certainly didn’t live an extravagant lifestyle.
“She had three separate bank accounts each containing £100,000 and then the rest came from stocks and shares.”
Mrs Brock added: “She also had premium bonds and would regularly get cheques through the door.
“Margaret was an only child so her bachelor uncle, who worked as a stockbroker, invested money for her and he seems to have invested very wisely.
“Nobody had any idea how much the will was worth or just how much her wealth had accumulated.”
Ms Dickson’s total estate was worth £1,119,455.73 and she left £20,000 to family and friends.
However, in her last wishes she gifted £250,000 each to Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s, the National Institute for the Blind and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute were each left £180,000.
Her flat was worth £72,500 and her personal belongings were worth just £2,000.
She had £63,000 of shares in Marks and Spencer, £62,000 of shares in British American Tobacco and £230,000 invested in government-backed National Savings and Investments products.
Ms Dickson fell ill just after her 70th birthday when doctors discovered a shadow on her lung which turned out to be cancerous.
She fought the disease before dying in the Marie Curie Hospice in Stobhill, Glasgow in March 2013.