GWENT hospices benefited from more than £400,000 left to them in peoples' wills last year.

St David's Foundation Hospice Care was one of five Welsh hospices and hospital charities which were left a combined total of more than £2 million.

St David's Hospice got £189,000 in the 2009/10 financial year, with donations ranging from £100 to £70,000 and St Anne's Hospice was left £148,366 in 2009, with donors leaving between £100 and £25,000.

Hospice of the Valleys was given £66,444 in 2009 with sums varying between £956 and £50,756.

The total for the three was £403,810.

Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Fund was left £50,000, Ty Hafan was the biggest benefactor, accumulating donations of £1.17 million.

Chief executive at St David's, Emma Saysell, said: "It's absolutely vital people remember us in their will and we re grateful when people do.

“The money goes to very good use, helping to care for people in their home, a small donation can help continue our work year on year."

Two other Welsh NHS charitable funds, Carmarthenshire and Swansea, were left £400,000 and £350,000 respectively.

The figures were released by the Cass Business School's research centre for charitable giving and philanthropy in conjunction with Remember a Charity, which showed the top 500 charities across the UK to be left money in peoples' wills, known as legacy income.

The top three charities across the UK to benefit from legacy income were Cancer Research UK, the RNLI and the RSPCA.

Next month heralds the start of 'Remember a Charity' week, September 13 - 19, where 140 charities will work together in a bid to highlight the importance of people leaving money to good causes in their will, some of which could not carry on without these donations.