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Ex-pupil's millions left to top Welsh independent school.

Byline: By JENNY REES Western Mail

One of Wales's most prestigious schools has been left a long-forgotten old boy's multi-million- pound fortune to foster a future generation of scientists. As much as pounds 3m could be left to Christ College, Brecon, after the childless widow of the multi- millionaire decided the school should get his legacy.

The windfall is due to the generosity of the widow of Old Breconian David Hubert Jones, a former science student, who established a successful pharmacy business in Glanaman, Carmarthenshire.

His widow, Florence, who went to live in Llandeilo after his death, died in November 2000. As they had no children, Christ College became a major beneficiary of her will.

The director of the Christ College Foundation, Major General the Rev Morgan Llewellyn, said little was known about the Old Breconian, known as Hubert.

'David Hubert Jones was a pupil here from 1917 to 1921 and was in the school's 1st XI football team and 2nd XI cricket team, but there is nothing else in our school archives,' he said.

What is known is that Mr Jones was born in 1903 and lived in Glanaman. He left Christ College with a certificate in education showing that he had studied Latin, French, history, arithmetic, chemistry and mechanics and from there he went on to study pharmacy in London, where he had two jobs in 1924-25.

He then returned to Glanaman and ran the Central Pharmacy, which is still operating. Yet as Mr Jones died in 1965, even there very little is known of him, other than the fact that he was able to pass on 'a very good shop' as the pharmacy was such a success.

The only surviving relative, Ieuan Jones, who is Florence's cousin's son is also named in the will and lives in Llandeilo.

He said, 'Hubert was very dedicated to his community. Everyone could approach him and he was available at all times of the day.

'He was a founder member of a shooting, hunting and fishing club, Clwb y Mynydd Du.'

He said Hubert's fortune had been accrued from a mixture of family wealth (his father had been part owner of a colliery), business acumen and shrewd financial investment after his death. 'They were of a generation that looked after their money,' he said.

It has taken more than four years for the estate to be settled after there were complications because a children's charity which is now disbanded was intended to get a quarter of the cash.

The school has been left 75% of Mr Jones's widow's residual estate.

'My feeling is that he was a quiet, hard working, successful professional chemist who ran a very good business,' said Major General Morgan Llewellyn, director of the Christ College Foundation, set up to raise money to fund student bursaries and improve the school facilities.

'He had a quiet family life and didn't have any children, but obviously felt a sense of gratitude to Christ College for presumably teaching him chemistry in the first place.'

The school was happy to comply with Mr Jones's wishes that the money should benefit chemistry students, he said.

'A shortage of science students is having a major impact not only on the future of medical science in the UK, but also on engineering and the technical industries. These are areas that in the past the UK has taken a lead.

'We propose to enlist the help of the medical and teaching professions to seek out those students who would most benefit from this wonderful opportunity.

'This public-spirited legacy might also provide a spur to other potential benefactors to join in a partnership with Christ College, which will further expand and enhance this exciting initiative aimed at promoting the traditional sciences.'

Head teacher Phillip Jones said, 'We will not know the exact size of the legacy until later in the year, but it is significant and certainly over six figures. It will enable us to fund up to 13 bursaries and enhance the school's already excellent science facilities.'

The school has been in existence for 450 years, and boarding students pay pounds 16,800 annually, with day pupils charged pounds 11,250. The school has never had an endowment, so the Foundation was set up in 2001 with an ambitious target of pounds 10m needed for bursaries, along with a similar sum for capital improvements.: Bucking the trend:It is hoped the seven-figure legacy will go some way to redress the national shortage of scientists. Students the length of Britain have shown their love affair with science is on the wane, but the independent school has been bucking the trend over the last nine years and 34% have gone on to read science at university.

In 2003 of nearly 350,000 students starting degree courses, less than 1% pursued the traditional sciences of physics and chemistry. In many areas the limited availability of A-level courses in maths and sciences is also deterring students.

This shortage is having dramatic consequences on physics and chemistry departments with many of them forced to shut down in major universities across the nation - the University of Wales, Swansea is considering closing the chemistry department.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 19, 2005
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