Virginia Pérez Buendía, the last in a long line of flour makers from the small town of Valverde de Júcar, in the province of Cuenca, has left her fortune to the young people of the town, so that they can all complete their studies.
Buendía, who never married and had no nieces or nephews, died aged 86-years-old in her Madrid apartment. Her body lay undiscovered for a month, until her flat was broken into after authorities obtained a judicial order. The flat has remained sealed off as the cause of death is investigated; authorities suspect Buendía died of a heart-attack.
"It was a huge surprise", Pedro Esteso, mayor of Valverde de Júcar told Spanish daily ABC, of Buendía’s gift to the young people of the town.
The old lady bequeathed her entire inheritance to the young people from poorer families who had good academic records, so that they would not miss out on furthering their studies.
Buendía started a foundation in her own name, to which she left the vast majority of her fortune. While the inhabitants of the town are still unsure about who exactly qualifies for a grant from the foundation – one of the hundred-or-so students currently studying in the town or one of the 80 students away at university in different towns – they cannot believe the generosity Buendía exhibited.
By all accounts, she was a solitary and modest figure, driving an old Land Rover and rarely engaging in small talk with neighbours.
"But she showed she has a big heart," the town’s mayor said, "she thought of the future of the town."