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Shy millionaire leaves money to children's hospice

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Jack Witham, who lived in a two-bedroom flat and did not appear to have two coins to rub together, has left £6 million to a children’s hospice.

Mr Witham died in November 2004, aged 79, having amassed a fortune in property investment, and has left most of it to Naomi House, in Sutton Scotney near Winchester.

The extraordinary generosity of Jack Witham will help build a new extension for teenagers with terminal illnesses.

Naomi House chief executive Ray Kipling said: "It's fantastic. We've never heard of such a big bequest. It's just wonderful."

Witham was a surveyor. He loved football and classical music, and never married.

Like so many other hospices, hospitals, and schools, Naomi House was started and sustained by charitable British people. If the tax situation were arranged properly, more people could give, and the good-heartedness of the British people could manifest more easily and to the greater good.

Jack Witham's spirit was exceptional. Today the national government's insistence on doing everything while taxing us all heavily is a blight on generosity and local initiative and contrary to a thousand years of British tradition.

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