Library spinster died a millionaire

A SPINSTER librarian known as a hoarder who never threw anything out has shocked her closest friends after it emerged she died a secret millionairess.

Marjorie Kennedy, who was 87 when she died in November last year, left a 1.5 million legacy.

Friends said her modest Marchmont flat was like a "time capsule" stuffed with books, newspapers and magazines piled on every inch of floor-space.

And they claimed the former Second World War Enigma codebreaker belied her millionaire status by dedicating her life to helping others less fortunate than herself.

Her concern about the plight of Edinburgh’s homeless led to the setting up of the Rock Trust.

Her former minister, the Rev Tom Cuthell of St Cuthbert’s Church in Lothian Road, described Ms Kennedy as the "social conscience" of his congregation.

"Marjorie was a wonderfully compassionate woman who always had time for others less privileged than herself.

"When young homeless men and women started to use our graveyard for shelter, Marjorie said it was our duty to help them.

"Others in the church were less willing to do so, but Marjorie kept on and when she quoted the parable of the poor man sleeping at the door of the rich man at a session of Kirk elders, the decision to begin a homeless charity was taken."

Mr Cuthell said visiting the spinster’s home in Warrender Park Crescent was more like visiting an over-stocked library than a millionaire’s palace.

"Despite living in the middle of what appeared to be organised chaos, she could always find what she was looking for.

"And even she when she became too frail to live on her own and was forced to move into a nursing home, she still couldn’t bring herself throw anything away and continued to surround herself with all sorts of clutter. But that was typical Marjorie."

Although the Church of Scotland minister knew Ms Kennedy for 26 years, the news that she was a millionaire took him completely by surprise.

He said: "I have been the minister at St Cuthbert’s since 1976 and in all that time I never suspected Marjorie had so much money."

It is believed Ms Kennedy, who had worked at Edinburgh University Library, inherited her fortune from her wealthy family, which included Lord Hunter, a famous Scottish judge.

But today St Cuthbert’s parishioners said the well-loved church stalwart kept quiet about her well-heeled ties.

One parishioner said: "Marjorie was well known throughout the parish as the inspiration behind the Rock Trust charity.

"But we never did know much about her background so the news she died a millionaire comes as a bit of a shock."

Rock Trust director Michael Blackie was equally surprised when he learned the inspiration behind the homeless charity was so wealthy.

He said the trust owed Ms Kennedy a debt of gratitude. "She was a spirited Christian who was not scared to stand up for what she believed in," he added.

"It was only after Marjorie harangued the Kirk Session about homeless people suffering in churchyards did local churches decide they had to do something."

Ms Kennedy bequeathed her legacy, which consisted of a large portfolio of stocks and shares wisely invested throughout her life, to a variety of distant relatives and friends.