A much-loved pillar of the community has stunned Bluebell Wood with her final act of kindness after leaving the charity a £5,000 gift in her will.

Lily Elwiss, from Armthorpe in Doncaster, was a long-standing supporter of Bluebell Wood who began  fundraising for the hospice before it even opened its doors, raising an incredible £18,000 over the years.

Kind-hearted Lily died at the age of 98 in December 2020 and was determined to make one last gesture of generosity. This final gift was typical of Lily, who was described as a “wonderful person who was loved and adored by all who knew her”.

She ran a popular convenience store in Armthorpe for many years and was also well known in the community from her various fundraising efforts, which ranged from bake sales and knitting garments to making peg bags and chopping wood to sell to neighbours.

Her daughter-in-law Maureen Elwiss, who is Lily’s son Tony’s widow, said she’s left a lasting legacy.

“Lily was very selfless and thoughtful, very independent and definitely what you would call a strong lady,” said Maureen, from Carcroft.

“And she was always really passionate about Bluebell Wood, and even went to have a look for herself to see what her hard work had helped pay for.

“But she was always very modest with it. She never wanted a lot of fuss or to be the centre of attention, so it’s lovely she’s now being celebrated for all her hard work.”

Lily’s good friend Jennifer Outhwaite said that even in her later years she never slowed down.

“I’ve known her all my life and she really was a wonderful person – everyone loved and adored her,” said Jennifer.

“It’s difficult to put into words what amazing person she was; I’m just absolutely in awe of her and I really do miss her.

“Over the years she made and sold 7,000 peg bags which she sold at her back door, and some ended up going all over the world.

“Even in her last ten years, when her fingers were riddled with arthritis, she used to tape them together and just keep going. She just never stopped.”

Samantha Wood, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “We were lucky to have Lily’s support all those years and it’s clear she was an extraordinary woman who deserves all the praise in the world.

“Her final act of kindness is incredibly moving and we’re very grateful that she remembered Bluebell Wood in her will so generously.

“It costs over £5m each year to keep our doors open for local children and families, so the hard work, dedication and generosity of people like Lily really does mean the world to us.”