A Norfolk-based farming charity has been bowled over by a surprise six-figure donation from the will of a quietly generous rural character.

Vera Crane, who lived in Weybread, near Harleston, died in October 2020 at the age of 94.

She was described by her family as a "very private person" - but she always loved farming and left a significant legacy to the Clan Trust, which supports young farmers, agricultural sciences and outreach services for the elderly.

Miss Crane was born on Chancel Farm in Weybread, but her family soon moved to the neighbouring Pear Tree Farm, a mixed venture where Miss Crane bred rabbits and looked after chickens, turkeys and ducks.

She never married, but enjoyed attending Young Farmers' Club balls with her brother Raymond.

Diss Mercury: Vera Crane, pictured with her father and brotherVera Crane, pictured with her father and brother (Image: Supplied by family)

Her cousin Irene Rouse, who now lives in Yorkshire, said: "She loved farming and always lived on the farm.

"It must have meant something to her to leave such a significant sum of money to help young farmers.

"She was a very private person. But it [the charity donation] is not a surprise to me, it is the kind of thing she would have done.

"They were lucky to get it, because two or three months before she passed on she had never made a will."

Ben B Turner, a trustee of the Clan Trust, said: "It was a huge surprise to us, an out-of-the-blue donation - and I think it is a sign we are doing something right, which is appreciated.

"The Clan Trust is a modest charity and we are delighted that what we are doing has been noticed and valued in this way.

"Bequeathments like this boost our ability to give back to the rural community.

"We see it as a silent 'thank you' for the work we are doing at both ends of the spectrum, helping people in East Anglia who are developing their careers or in their later years."