PORTSMOUTH’S Anglican cathedral has been left a staggering £2.5m legacy in a pensioner’s will.
William Groves, whose family founded the Biscoes solicitors firm, died in March and left £2.5m in stocks and shares to the cathedral in St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth.
He also left his flat in Penny Street and a shop in Petersfield.
His immense gift will be used to shape the cathedral’s long-term future and discussions have already begun about what to do with it.
Mr Groves, who loved the Old Portsmouth area, attended Portsmouth Grammar School as a child and was a keen worshipper.
He attended Evensong daily and enjoyed listening to cathedral music.
Mr Groves, who was in his 80s when he passed away, spent time as a chapter clerk in the past.
Friends of Mr Groves said he enjoyed living in Old Portsmouth and spent his spare time walking along the seafront looking out onto the Solent.
He was part of the Portsmouth Society – a voluntary group interested in preserving the city’s buildings, streets, open spaces and seashore.
His law firm was founded by his grandfather, and now has branches across the region, including Portsmouth, Gosport, Portchester and Waterlooville.
The cathedral intends to ensure the majority of the legacy is invested and used for new work and development, rather than covering bills and general housekeeping.
Members will develop projects fitting in with the cathedral’s development plan, which fall under education and outreach, music, arts and culture, and fabric maintenance and development.
One of the proposals could be working with Lucy Moore, from St Wilfrid’s Church in Cowplain, on starting up a messy church-style holiday club for children.
Rev David Brindley, said: ‘William was an Old Portsmouth man.
‘He attended Portsmouth Grammar School and ran a firm of solicitors which had been started by his grandfather.
‘He was secretary of the cathedral council in the 1960s and was a faithful worshipper.
‘He had no immediate family.
‘William’s generous gift has given us a chance to take a long-term view about how we can undertake new work to build long-term sustainable growth.’