Budleigh’s late secret millionaire makes generous donations in his will

A GENEROUS secret millionaire from Budleigh Salterton left a substantial amount of money in his will to be split between a number of local organisations.

Kind-hearted John McBurnie Wood, of Copp Hill Lane, who died last year, made a total of around �2million in donations.

The cash giveaway entailed �300,000 apiece going to Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club, the town’s croquet club, Shandford Residential Care Home, the RNLI, PDSA and Guide Dogs For the Blind.

Details of his estate, which The Journal obtained this week, has delighted the beneficiaries and people who knew the man.

Kevin Curran, Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club honorary secretary, said: “We are delighted, obviously (with the donation) but we weren’t aware of his wealth – not many people were.

“He was a member of the club for many years and always made small donations, for instance, with our flood appeal.”

Mr Curran said the money would be protected to safeguard the future of Budleigh Salterton CC.

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He added: “This will not change the ethos of the club in that we will continue as before with all our fundraising and sponsorship activities.

“Bearing in mind the flooding problems and issues relating to our ground, the money will be ring-fenced for the club’s long-term future.”

Widower Mr McBurnie Wood, whose wife died several years ago, had worked as an accountant earlier in his life and made his fortune investing in stocks and shares.

He had been staying at a residential home before his death.

Mr McBurnie Wood was well-known for walking a white poodle around town and was a member not just at Budleigh Salterton CC but also the local croquet club and used to play skittles for the Loungers at The Feathers pub.

He was fond of dogs and often volunteered to work on stalls at jumble sales in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity.

Richard Pike, chairman of Shandford management committee – a body in which Mr McBurnie Wood was a former honorary treasurer - was thrilled with the donation.

“Shandford is overwhelmed by his generosity, making such a wonderful gesture. We’re incredibly touched by his kindness.

“The money will make an immense difference. We’re enormously indebted to him.”

Ivor Meredith, club secretary at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, confirmed John, better known as ‘Mac’, had left the club with a ‘considerable’ sum of money.

He said: “We did not realise that he had that sort on money in his bank account!”

Dave Waddington, treasurer of Budleigh Salterton Angling Association, said he knew Mr McBurnie Wood from playing skittles and that he would also audit the angling association’s books.

“He used to be a very enthusiastic (skittles) player,” said Mr Waddington.

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