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This was Mum’s gift to us

Chris Haines left £34,000 to Oxfam in her Will. Her daughter Vanessa explains why her family are so proud of this life-changing legacy.

Despite her almost painful modesty, my Mum had a towering determination and belief that people can make a difference. She was a lifelong supporter of Oxfam, and I remember she didn't ever shield my brother and me from the truth of the world. There were always campaign pamphlets on the coffee table when we were growing up.

Mum wanted us to see the world in all its inequality - but always in a positive way, encouraging us to look at what we can do to make a change in our small way. She was exceptionally well-informed, and never failed to be incensed and moved by the problems she saw in the world. When she died we found a pile of letters that she'd received from MPs in response to issues she's raised. She felt there was power in the pen.

"Mum's gift is a lovely, warm reflection of her beliefs. It's a legacy for future generations."

I wasn't surprised at all when her Will was revealed. My Mum was very passionate about supporting those who didn't have what they needed to live a healthy, safe, dignified life. Her gift is a lovely, warm reflection of her beliefs. It's a legacy for future generations.

As a family, we recognise that we live in such relative wealth. If Mum had left this money to us, while it might have enhanced our already comfortable lives, it wouldn't have had the potency of leaving a legacy to Oxfam.

Moreover, we know this gift didn't mean that our mother had loved and valued Dad, my brother and me any less; we were able to share in her bigger vision. It's important to mention my Dad too. He never faltered in his love and devotion to Mum, and this was evident in his wholehearted willingness to support her in her determination to donate a substantial sum of what was, effectively, their shared savings. He respected Mum's wishes and fully understood the value of such a legacy to Oxfam.

 

"This donation will change thousands of lives. And that was my Mum's gift to us: enriching, enduring and meaningful."

Photo: Vanessa (right) with Chris 

You know when you leave a legacy to Oxfam that it's in very safe hands and that it will make a difference. That was extremely important to our family - we wanted to be assured that the money will be spent well, and we were.

Mum understood the value of money and the value it can give to many, many lives when it is invested wisely. This donation will change thousands of lives. And that was my Mum's gift to us: enriching, enduring and meaningful. What a gift, and what a legacy.

To find out more about leaving a legacy to Oxfam in your Will - and about our free Will-writing service - call Legacy Advisor Peter Blum on 0300 200 1331 or by email at legacy@oxfam.org.uk.

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