Six Scots women and their stunning acts of benevolence

Mona Webster left most of her �10m fortune to help protect her two main loves in life - opera and rare birds
Mona Webster left most of her �10m fortune to help protect her two main loves in life - opera and rare birds
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From lifeboats to rare birds, animal protection and opera, these women left money where their heart was.

Mona Webster

Georgina Sutherland of Aberdeen was at one-time penniless - but left �6m in her will

Georgina Sutherland of Aberdeen was at one-time penniless - but left �6m in her will

Mrs Webster, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper, travelled the world well into old age in pursuit of both her passions - rare birds and opera.

She left the bulk of her £10m fortune to New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust following her death in 2009.

The Royal Opera House and Royal National Lifeboat Institution received smaller bequests of about £100,000.

Mrs Webster was born in 1913 on the Isle of Man and grew up on the Orkney isles, where she developed her love of birds.

The RNLI is a major beneficiary of bequests

The RNLI is a major beneficiary of bequests

She joined the civil service, moving from London to Edinburgh following WWII, and invested wisely in a substantial portfolio of property and shares.

Mrs Webster travelled far and wide with her husband Ted, who died in 1981, with the opera fan continuing to attend performances in London until she was well into her 80s.

The family’s death notice in The Scotsman newspaper said she would be “remembered particularly for her love of music, rare birds, her gardening and embroidery skills.

Georgina Sutherland

Georgina Sutherland left £6m to good causes following her death in 2014 aged 95 in a gesture that signalled a true reversal in fortunes.

She and her family were left penniless after being forced to flee Hong Kong at the start of World War and lived in exile in Australia.

Mrs Sutherland, of Aberdeen, later returned to Hong Kong where she worked in civil service.

She eventually became secretary to the Governor before meeting her husband Tom Scott Sutherland in 1948.

He was a highly successful Aberdeen-based architect, cinema tycoon, house builder and philanthropist.

The couple had no children and Mrs Sutherland was widowed after just 12 years of marriage, remaining single for the rest of her life.

Her published will shows she left £346,000 to family and friends but put the rest of her £6,149,722.29 fortune into the Ina Scott Sutherland Charitable Foundation.

READ MORE: Where there is a will, there is a way to give

Margaret Dickson

Ms Dickson, 72, stunned friends and family when her will revealed a secret £1.1m fortune which she split between four charities.

A former primary school teacher and police officer, Mrs Dickson had never shown signs of her wealth, living for many years in a tenement flat in the east end of Glasgow.

She died in March 2013 from lung cancer.

The money from her estate was divided up between several charities, with Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation receiving £250,000 each. She also left money to friends and relatives.

Her cousin, Jean Brock, 63, of Glasgow, said at the time: “We were appointed as executors so we got to see her will and we were shocked to see how much money she had.

Most of her wealth came from stocks and shares, as well as prize cheques from premium bonds.

Bettie Paul

Ms Paul lived only with her cats and left £1.7m to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The teacher’s fortune is said to have been built on years of shrewd share dealings with Ms Paul’s wealth stunning neighbours in Golspie, Sutherland, where she lived inconspiciously with her animals and little car.

Mrs Paul died in January 2010 and left £1,813,333, with the vast majority going to the Scottish SSPCA.

Friends recalled her devotion to teaching and her “very keen intellect”.

Mrs Paul also made bequests to the British Orthopaedic Association and the Sutherland division of Alzheimer Scotland.

Margaret Walker

Margaret Walker gifted £4m towards the protection of birds and woodland following her death in July last year.

Mrs Walker, who died last year aged 89, left the bulk of her legacy for The Woodland Trust, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Her husband was Professor David Walker QC, regius professor of law at Glasgow University. The couple had no children.

Mercy Ships UK and Parkinson’s Disease Society of the United Kingdom received £750,000 each with smaller gifts for the the University of Glasgow Trust, Compassion in World Farming, The Donkey Sanctuary, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Starter Packs Glasgow, and Dogs Trust.

Mrs Walker was an elder of Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church where she was known for raising money for the church through selling Christmas cards and writing for the church newsletter.

Isabella Houston

Retired chiropodist Isabella Houston, 90, left £2.2m to four charities in her will following her death in 2014.

Almost all of her estate went to Cancer Research UK, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the British Heart Foundation and CLIC Sargent.

Mrs Houston, a widow, died in a nursing home in Ayr and it is understood shares in big firms made up most of the fortune.