Wednesday, November 18, 2009

$3 million estate left in will to stray animals

Sydney dentist Daina Silins leaves $3 million to stray cats

Shared from Weird True Freaky -

Daina Silins
Latvian-born Daina Silins never married and never owned any animals
  • Former dentist dies alone in Sydney home
  • Lover of animals never married
  • $3m estate given to animal welfare groups
IT WAS stray cats and dogs she loved, so in the end Daina Silins gave them her $3 million estate.

The former dentist from Newport, in Sydney's north, was found slumped in her armchair three days after her death last November.

The first sign she had died was when a neighbour's dog, which she used to feed, was found scratching at her door, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The tall Latvian-born woman with long dark brown hair never married and never owned any animals, but animals were always on her mind.

Her cluttered Barrenjoey Rd home had dozens of books on different species of dogs and cats, and a collection of old notes and coins believed to be worth $60,000.

Most importantly among her belongings was a will Ms Silins, 80, had drawn up with plans to give her $3.27 million estate including her home, properties in Fiji and Bensville on the Central Coast to animal welfare groups.

She had arranged for The Cat Protection Society, Animal Welfare League and Domestic Animals Birth Control Society to receive about $1 million each.

"At her dental surgery she would feed every stray cat that came along, no one would go hungry," former client Keith Clissold said yesterday. "She didn't have any family but everybody knew her.

"She used to wear a bright red coat and a big hat. Because of her good work I still have a lot of my own teeth in my mouth."

Ms Silins studied dentistry at Sydney University in 1951 and set up a surgery at Yagoona in Sydney's southwest. Mr Clissold was seven-years-old when he first visited her, then later in life she became his client at his accountancy practice.

"At her funeral there were 10 or 11 people who had known her," Mr Clissold said. "She really was one of those characters in life."

Ms Silins' prized coin collection included 28 rare Seige Notes from 1884 signed by British General Charles Gordon, made famous in the 1966 Hollywood movie Khartoum starring Charlton Heston as Gordon.

Gordon led 7000 Egyptian and Sudanese soldiers in a Khartoum garrison when the city was surrounded by a Mahdist Sudanese army led by Mahdi Ahmad. His head ended up on a pike, but not before he personally signed the Siege bank notes.

Ms Silins bought the notes, to be sold at a rare coin auction on November 24, in Sydney in 1985.
Daina Silins
The Newport home belonging to Daina Silins that will be sold to fund animal shelters.

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