Millionairess leaves cash to boathouse
A millionairess whose passion for sailing led to close involvement with a boathouse has secured its future after leaving it money in her will. Audrey Earle was a founder member of a group that bought and set up the Burnham Overy Staithe boathouse, a landmark black and white barn building at the harbour.
A millionairess whose passion for sailing led to close involvement with a boathouse has secured its future after leaving it money in her will.
Audrey Earle was a founder member of a group that bought and set up the Burnham Overy Staithe boathouse, a landmark black and white barn building at the harbour.
The keen sailor, who never married, had persuaded a friend to buy himself out of the navy in 1958 just to help run the new institution.
She died in January this year, aged 87, and now the publication of her will has revealed that she left estate valued at £8m.
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Her only bequest was believed to be for £10,000 to go to the boathouse company - now a chandlers, boat repair and sailing accessories and clothes shop - to restore and maintain it.
Peter Beck, the sailor whom she persuaded to run the boathouse - which he did for 40 years - paid warm tribute to the quiet, unassuming woman he described as “one of the best”.
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He had known Miss Earle since 1944 when she first moved to Burnham Market.
“She was a lady whom everyone liked, and she was very much a person for local people - and she didn't take too kindly to the incomers with their 4x4 vehicles.
“But she was a generous benefactor to the village and never sought publicity for her donations,” said Mr Beck. “She took a great interest in the village and was commodore of the sailing club for several years.
“We ran the local regatta for many years; she was quite a character and I miss her very
He said Miss Earle was often spotted out in her motorboat, Florence Emily, in the creek at high water and was a great supporter of local causes.
She was known for being hot on the rules of seafaring, for being an accomplished artist and for having travelled to France with the ambulance corps during the second world war.
Miss Earle had lived in a modest house that she had bought on the outskirts of the village in
It is not known how she amassed her wealth, although it may have come through her family, which was involved in a brewery and a cement company.