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Leave everyone Riding high; It isn't just money people leave in their wills. A bizarre collection of items have been bequeathed to Macmillan Cancer Support, including a lock of cat's hair, a toilet roll holder, a bunch of fake roses and a statue of The Last Supper. Here we reveal another strange legacy...

Byline: WORDS: NATALIE KEEGAN

Linda Thomas was so overwhelmed by the care Macmillan gave to her family she wanted to give something special in return.

When Linda's brother, Timmy Wenner, died from lung cancer in May 2001, it was Macmillan who had helped her family through the tragic ordeal.

Dad-of-two Timmy had begun feeling unwell after workng with asbestos, complaining of a cold feeling in his legs. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2001, and lost his battle just three months later, aged 42.

Linda, 52, from Monmouth, South Wales, says, 'Rachel, our Macmillan nurse, became one of the family, helping us all accept Timmy's illness. She genuinely understood how we all were feeling - confused, angry, desperate, sad, lost.

'She provided such incredible support to the family and my mum.'

Linda's mum, Margaret, had not only lost her son, in the same year her husband, Alex Lindsay, had passed away after a heart attack.

Years before he died, Alex had bought a carousel horse and made him a member of their family, calling it Keith. Linda explains, 'Alex got him from a fair. He was bought for my mum as a Christmas present in the late 80s. Keith took pride of place in the living room.

'I think it was meant as a joke but it backfired as her grandchildren thought he was wonderful and took turns sitting on him.'

Tragically, Linda lost her mum to a heart attack in 2011, and when she died, Keith was left to Macmillan to give thanks for the organisation's incredible work.

Linda says, 'Throughout her life mum always put others' needs before her own, loved unconditionally and was forgiving without question. She remained in contact with Macmillan before she sadly died.'

But the thought of letting Keith go when he held so many memories was too much for Linda. So she decided to pay Macmillan PS500, the amount the sale of Keith would make at auction, in exchange for the family heir loom.

Linda explains , 'I set up a lifetime legacy, paying PS20 per month, and the provision of a donation in my will to enable me to keep Keith.

'This keeps Mum, Timmy and Alex's spirit alive, and all that they represented in life. Keith lives in the kitchen. I have three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren and when they visit they make a fuss of him. They pretend to ride him, feed him and stroke him. I imagine mum looking down smiling - and it almost feels like she is there with us. The work Macmillan does is incredible, they are caring and offer unconditional support.

'The horse represents so much more than cash. I would like to think my children would find a home for it, knowing the memories it holds and the love it represents.'

One-third of the money donated to Macmillan is through wills. Helen Eddleston, head of legacy promotions at Macmillan says, 'Gifts can be of all shapes and sizes and still make a huge difference to Macmillan and people affected by cancer.'

No one should face cancer alone. The Macmillan team is there to support you every step of the way. For more information or to donate visit macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.

FACTS

Macmillan has been left the following items:

A small herd of beef steer cows - these auctioned at market, raising almost PS500 per cow

A Chinese jade monkey figurine - this a reserve of PS180 but achieved PS23,000 at auction

An unusual collection of farming which included 12 tractors, a horse-drawn plough and five of corrugated iron.

A unique violin crafted in 1619 by the brothers - this rare instrument raised PSat auction by Christie's in New York.

A fleet of black cabs - these were part an overall estate and ended up being by a taxi firm
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2013
Words:637
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