Six amazing and unusual gifts people have left us in their Will

As part of the Remember A Charity in Your Will Week, we dug deep into our archives to find interesting items people have given us over the years, to help us care for more people living with a terminal illness. Here are our top picks:  

A famous poem more than 100 years old

In 1974, Marie Curie was bequeathed royalties from a well-known poem by J. Milton Hayes, The Green Eye of the Yellow God, by his late wife. According to Wikipedia, this 1911 poem is set in Nepal and tells of the tale of a wild young officer known as Mad Carew, who steals the ‘green eye’ of a ‘yellow god’ (presumably an emerald in a gold statue) to impress his beloved. But he gets wounded, and then murdered, possibly by a devotee of the god, who returns the stolen jewel to the statue. So far we’ve received £14,000 in royalties from this poem.

A painting, supposedly by Rembrandt

Part of an estate left to us included a painting that looked like a Rembrandt. Although we couldn’t verify that it was a painting by the 17th century Dutch artist famous for his portraits, self-portraits and landscape paintings, the quality was such that it still sold for £60,000!

Music royalties from a world-renowned conductor

When a prominent English conductor left us a share of his estate worth around £2 million, it also included royalties from his vast collection of work. In his long, productive and successful career, he had many years of association with the London Symphony Orchestra and over 200 CDs in his discography. His gift may have been made in memory of his late wife, who was cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead

A piano owned by an American jazz singer

We were given an upright piano that once belonged to Adelaide Hall, an American-born, UK-based jazz singer and entertainer who performed from the 1920s up until the 1990s. It was sold at auction for £7,197.50 in 2011.

A mobility scooter

We were once left a mobility scooter that we had to pick up within 24 hours of notification as the property in which it was kept had to be returned to the local council! It was later sold at a local Marie Curie Shop

And finally... a classy vintage Rolls-Royce

In 2002, we auctioned off a gift in the form of a magnificent 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, so called because of its ghost-like quietness. We raised £140,312.59 from the sale of this car as well as other items from this estate. 

At Marie Curie, we’re really privileged to have the support of so many generous people who remember us in their Wills.

And incredibly, almost a quarter of all people we cared for last year were supported by funds we had raised from gifts in Wills.


Any gift, big or small, that people leave us in their Will can help us care for more people with any terminal illness in years to come. Find out how you too can be part of our future.