Foundation of the Blind beneficiary of estate auction

The property at 15 Cardigan St, Arrowtown. Photo by Virtual Homes Photography.
The property at 15 Cardigan St, Arrowtown. Photo by Virtual Homes Photography.
A descendant of one of Otago's pioneering families has left the entire proceeds from the sale of her Arrowtown home, being auctioned later this month, to charity.

Verona Mary McGregor, who is understood to have died several years ago, lived in Arrowtown most of her life and was a descendant of the McGregor family, which owed John McGregor and Co, the Dunedin-based company that built TSS Earnslaw in 1912.

In her will, she left a substantial portion of her estate to 17 charities, with her three-bedroom, one bathroom home at 15 Cardigan St going to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) Guide Dog Services - despite having had no known affiliation with the charity.

The foundation was made aware of the donation when the house was put into a trust many years ago.

A family member was able to live in the house under a "life interest", but after that person's death earlier this year the foundation was advised the house would be sold and it would get the proceeds.

RNZFB supporter marketing and fundraising executive director Alison Wheatley said she was unaware of any "specific connection" to the foundation. However, it often received legacies from friends or family members of New Zealanders who were blind or had poor vision.

"They are often inspired by the help and support of the RNZFB has been able to provide ... so it's their way of giving back, " she said.

Bayleys Queenstown residential saleswoman Katharine Tomlinson said the original 1970s weatherboard home, located in the historic precinct of Arrowtown, had a 2011 rateable valuation of $435,000.

The 579sq m property featured a carport, workshop and an outdoor entertainment area, complete with a swimming pool.

Ms Tomlinson said it would be auctioned in Bayley's Queenstown office on November 29 at 1pm.

All services for the auction had been donated, including the sale commission and Bayleys would not be charging a fee for the auction or marketing of the property.

Services had also been donated by Virtual Homes Photography, Lakes Property Press and print media, including the Otago Daily Times, which had given free advertising. Lakes Environmental had also filled out a Land Information Memorandum (Lim) report at no cost.

Ms Wheatley said no decision had been made on what the money would be used for, it would go "where the need is the greatest".

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

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