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Farmer's £3m legacy to companion

PUBLISHED: 22:48 07 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

THE long-term partner of a wealthy farmer has been left almost £3 million in his will.

Connie Spall, from Rumburgh near Halesworth, was left an estate valued at £2.

THE long-term partner of a wealthy farmer has been left almost £3 million in his will.

Connie Spall, from Rumburgh near Halesworth, was left an estate valued at £2.9m net by Kenneth Skinner, who owned Dukes Farm in Bungay.

Mr Skinner, who was believed not to have any surviving close relatives, died last April aged 83.

Friends of the couple described them as “life-long partners”. Ms Spall said she had been his companion for 45 years, although the pair lived apart and had never married.

Despite the value of Mr Skinner's will, fellow farmer Leon Collyer, from Bungay, said he was not particularly surprised at how much he had left.

Mr Collyer said: “He had a lot of land and he was careful, so it doesn't surprise me and it seems right that it went to Connie. He also gave land to Bungay, which was good of him.”

Betty and John Warnes, from Bungay, said Mr Skinner had been a generous man who had been well-known in the town. He had given the town land on which to build Waveney Valley swimming pool.

It was his request that after his death Ms Spall hand over part of her inheritance, a 10-acre site in Bungay named Skinner's Meadow after him, to the town for use as a sports field.

Mr Warnes, who read Mr Skinner's eulogy at his funeral, said: “His family had farmed here for about 100 years and he had a great fondness for the area.

“The site which he bequeathed to the town after his death was adjoined by land that had featured in a Munnings' painting called Fair Farm.

“He would have been very pleased with plans to use it as a sports field for the town. It was what he would have liked to see.”

It is envisaged Skinner's Meadow will eventually be used to allow clubs to bring football, cricket and other sports into the town via a multi-purpose facility.

John Fuller, treasurer of Bungay and District Sports Association, said it was currently prioritising plans to take over a sports field in Ditchingham.

But he envisaged Skinner's Meadow would be properly developed at some time in the future.

“It was a very generous gesture of Mr Skinner to leave us the meadow and one for which we are very grateful,” added Mr Fuller.


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