The beneficiary is a nursing home where the octogenarian spent his final years. The registered charity plans to use the money to secure its future and enhance the lives of its 120 elderly residents.
Sydney Northridge, a gentleman farmer, died in 2002 and left 11 acres of zoned land on the lower slopes of the Airport Hill on the edge of Cork City to St Luke’s Home in Mahon, Cork City.
In March the site will be put up for auction with a guide price of €15-€20 million, according to Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing auctioneers.
St Luke’s Home is a registered charity established 134 years ago as the bluntly-named Home for Protestant Incurables.
Mr Northridge had offered St Luke’s the land on which to build a new home as far back as the early 1990s before he became a resident, when the home was relocating from Military Hill across the city.
The generous farmer, whose legacy will benefit future generations, never married, and is survived by an elderly brother and a sister.
A surge in land values is set to see the late Mr Northridge’s last 11 acres of land, including his home, sell for development.
St Luke’s Home president, the Rt Rev Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, said the windfall would allow the home to secure its future, and branch its services out further to people in the wider community.
St Luke’s Home caters for 120 residents from all religious faiths and has a vitally-needed 30-person dementia unit.
Bishop Colton, who married David and Victoria Beckham, said: “It’s hugely generous. Obviously, the outcome of this sale will shape the nature of our work in years to come. What the bequest may enable us to do is to expand the work of the charity into new areas of activity. The demand for services for the elderly is ever growing, as demographics change and people live longer. People are not as ready to come into residential care as they were before and perhaps we should be trying to find ways in which elderly people can be supported in their own homes and communities,” he said.
“St Luke’s Home had been developed through generous cross-community support from the people of Cork and neighbouring counties over many years. That support has been our greatest resource,” he added.