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Large legacy gives St Davids parish-share reduction for all

08 August 2014

by a staff reporter


Benefactress: the late Hazel Jones-Olszewski, who has left £2.6 million to the diocese of St Davids

Benefactress: the late Hazel Jones-Olszewski, who has left £2.6 million to the diocese of St Davids

A LEGACY of £2.6 million is to be shared by all the parishes of the diocese of St Davids, in accordance with the wishes of Hazel Jones-Olszewski, who bequeathed it.

Mrs Jones-Olszewski made her bequest to the diocese to be used for "charitable church purposes". The legacy - the largest ever received by the diocese - stunned diocesan officials all the more because Mrs Jones-Olszewski had left her home parish of St David's, Saron, on the outskirts of Ammanford, more than 20 years earlier, and had come from humble origins.

She was born in Saron, the seventh of eight children, and attended Sunday school at the church. At the age of 16, she went to work in the offices of a bus company in Ammanford. She later married the Revd Vernon Jones, and they moved to London, where their son, Stansfield, was born. Her husband died, and some years later Mrs Jones was married again, to a retired Polish army officer.

After his death, Mrs Jones-Olszewski lived with her son at her home in Chelsea, before spending her final years in a nursing home in Kensington. Her son died suddenly shortly after she entered the home, and Mrs Jones-Olszewski died last year, aged 84.

A diocesan spokesman said that it had no details of why Mrs Jones-Olszewski had remembered the diocese in her will, or had left it such a large amount.

He said: "All we know is that this ordinary woman did something extraordinary, which will benefit a great many people in St Davids diocese for many years to come."

The legacy was left to the diocese with two conditions: it should stand as a lasting memorial, and be for the diocese as a whole.

The diocese asked parishes and organisations to come up with ideas about how the money could be spent. Most popular were ideas about spending it on parish finance, children's and youth work, and training.

Accordingly, nearly £1 million will be spent on children's and youth ministry; £1.5 million be put into diocesan reserves to allow for a 6.4-per-cent reduction in parish share, so that all parishes will benefit; and a further £150,000 will be spent on clergy and lay training.

A plaque will also be put upat St David's, Saron, commemorating Mrs Jones-Olszewski.

She has been buried alongside her son in Gunnersbury cemetery, in London.

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