Complications with Ô£3.7 Million Bequest to Edinburgh Festival

Classic Arts News   Complications with Ô£3.7 Million Bequest to Edinburgh Festival
British media reported earlier this month that Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) officials were thrilled to receive a surprise Ô£3.7 million bequest from an Irish public relations executive who was an enthusiastic festival regular.

However, that gift has been soured by the revelation that L_an Scully, who died last year at 72, ignored her own family in her will, including a severely mentally handicapped brother who lives in a state institution.

Scully traveled to the festival every year from Dublin, and according to an article in The Scotsman, the gift was the single biggest bequest in the festival's history. Edinburgh International Festival director Brian McMaster told the paper at the time, "It's fantastic ... She's doing something great, something for the Festival, the thing she cared most about."

Unfortunately, however, she apparently didn't care quite so much about her own family, and the revelation that she left her relations nothing at all has caused the EIF some embarrassment. The Scotsman reported yesterday that McMaster is talking with the family and considering sharing the festival's annual income from the bequest, which should be somewhere between Ô£150,000 and Ô£250,000.

Scully's family members, unsurprisingly, are miffed at their exclusion from her will. The Scotsman quotes Orla Rooney Mays, a doctor and the eldest of Scully's U.S. nieces, writing on a blog, "This is a woman who blatantly ignored her nieces and her mentally handicapped brother ... L_an may have hoped this final act of philanthropy may have redeemed her, but my own spiritual beliefs tell me otherwise."

The paper adds that Scully's Connecticut-based sister, Patricia Rooney, said, "She didn't want anything to do with her family. She decided that after the death of our mother 12 years ago. L_an could be difficult and quite a changeable person. For us to be ignored is one thing, but for her to have turned her back on my brother does not seem right at all. I've said it often this week and I will say it again, it was as if in her mind she had buried him."

Scully worked in agricultural public relations and donated just Ô£45 a year to the EIF while she was alive. Her multi-million-pound legacy came from the sale of two adjoining houses she owned in Dublin. It is being used this year to pay for pianist Llyr Williams's appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra and a performance of Schumann's Manfred which features several young artists and singers performing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

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