Kind couple leave £90k bequest to neighbours

Alistair Darling MP plants a tree in memory of Elizabeth and Ian McDonald
Alistair Darling MP plants a tree in memory of Elizabeth and Ian McDonald
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A DEVOTED Edinburgh couple who lived in sheltered housing for more than 20 years stunned residents by leaving the complex a £90,000 bequest.

The unexpected donation by Ian and Elizabeth McDonald has now paid for a new library and games room at Viewpoint Housing Association’s Gillespie Crescent complex in Bruntsfield.

And Alistair Darling MP helped plant a tree paid for by tenants in memory of the McDonalds, before officially opening the new facility.

Mr and Mrs McDonald were among the original tenants when the complex was first built.

Co-ordinator Maureen McSherry said: “I first met the McDonalds when I started working here nine years ago.

“They were a very quiet, private couple who kept themselves to themselves – they talked to their neighbours but did not attend functions or anything like that.

“They were devoted to each other – they didn’t have any kids, it was just the two of them.”

In later years Mrs McDonald began to suffer from dementia and Mr McDonald, who served in the army and was based in Egypt during the war, acted as her carer.

When her condition worsened, Mrs McDonald went into a care home at Inverleith, with her husband walking each day to the home to see her – despite being in his 90s at the time.

Viewpoint discovered the generous bequest had been left to the Gillespie Crescent complex, which is made up of 116 flats spread across three buildings, three years ago.

“Everyone was totally shocked when they heard they had left the complex £90,000,” said Ms McSherry.

“It has been put towards buying new garden furniture and a new kitchen has been put in one of the rooms for social functions.

“The communal room now has new furniture and games and since it has been done up, it has been used a lot more.

“A few of the tenants can’t get out on their own, so having this means that they have something to do instead of just sitting in the common room.

“We’ve renamed it the McDonald Room in their honour.”

“Mr and Mrs McDonald were extremely generous in leaving such a magnificent bequest.

“This is one of the best sheltered housing complexes in the city and it’s in a lovely setting.

“As the general population gets older we will need more places like Gillespie Crescent for people who want to live independently, but who also want to know there is security there for them if they need it.”