Molly Weir leaves £1.8m to charities

THE veteran Scottish actress and writer Molly Weir has left almost her entire estate of nearly £1.9 million to charities and good causes, it emerged yesterday.

The actress, who died last November aged 94, was best known for uttering the words "Flash - cleans baths without scratching" in early 1970s TV adverts for the household cleaning powder.

But the star, who was only 4ft 10in tall, also was famed for her role as the Scottish ghost, Hazel McWitch, in the slapstick children's TV series Rentaghost, which ran from 1976 until 1984.

Molly Weir grew up in poverty in the deprived Springburn area of north Glasgow, which in 2002 achieved the unenviable reputation as the second poorest parliamentary constituency in the UK.

The eldest of four children, she was raised by her mother following the death of her father, a soldier, who was killed in 1914.

Probate records released this week, however, reveal that she left a net estate of 1,864,977 - mainly due to the profits from the eight volumes of memoirs that she wrote about her tough upbringing and life as an actress.

Her acclaimed memoirs about her childhood in Glasgow formed the trilogy Shoes were for Sunday, Best Foot Forward and One Toe on the Ladder.

They were later followed by titles such as Stepping into the Spotlight and Walking into the Lyons Den.

She moved to London in 1945, and although she lived for many years in Pinner, Middlesex, before her death in a nursing home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, she never forgot her Scottish roots and in 2000 was voted Scotswoman of the Year.

Molly was widowed following the death of her husband and childhood sweetheart, Sandy Hamilton, in 1997 and had no children.

She left the bulk of her fortune to eight charities.

Donations of more than 200,000 each will be made in her name to the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland, the Parkinson's Disease Society, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the Stroke Association, the Alzheimer's Society, Cancer Research UK and the Arthritis Research Campaign.

But her will also detailed individual legacies of 3,000, 2,000 and 1,000 to more than 30 other charities and good causes which were close to her heart, including many in Scotland, such as the West of Scotland Housing Association to provide holidays for tenant families, and St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh.

She also left 500 to the Friends of Loch Lomond where her ashes were scattered following cremation, and bequeathed all future royalties and profits from her books to Springburn social services to benefit the elderly and the poor.

She also left 8,000 to provide "extra comforts" for residents of the Balornock and Springburn homes for the elderly in Glasgow, and elderly patients in the city's Stobhill and Ruchill hospitals.

Family legacies of 2,000 were also left to her brother, the broadcaster Tom Weir, and 1,000 to other family members.

Molly Weir started performing on Scottish radio in 1939, and later wrote radio scripts for Woman's Hour, Children's Hour and Home This Afternoon.