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THE Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation has received a generous bequest to be used for paediatric oncology.

Artist George Wagner bequeathed more than $74,000 to the Foundation, in recognition of the work conducted in the region for children.

Long time friend Mark Lilley described Mr Wagner as a generous man who always felt compassion towards children.

“His background is that he was Dutch-Indonesian and spent some of his youth in concentration camps so he had a difficult time himself as a child. I think that’s what made him feel compassionately towards children who were having a hard time,” Mr Lilley said.

“Particularly when he was diagnosed with cancer, he felt even more so for children with cancer who might miss out on life,” he said.

Mr Wagner studied art and design in Paris, India, Holland and Sydney, and exhibited his works all over the world, including Holland, Cairns, Mexico, Sydney, Yungaburra, Townsville and New York.

“I met George when he was my neighbour in Sydney in the 70s – he was an eccentric person and we became lifelong friends. He actually asked me who I thought he should leave money to and I suggested the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation as I was having treatment at Cairns Hospital and went past the office quite regularly,” Mr Lilley said.

Foundation CEO Tony Williamson passed on his gratitude for the bequest, on behalf of patients currently and into the future.

“We’re actually seeing an increasing number of bequests come to the Foundation, which is a beautiful way that people can leave a legacy to the community,” Mr Williamson said.

“One of the really amazing aspects about the Foundation is that because of our commercial operations, every cent donated to us goes where it’s intended. Nothing that’s donated is used for administration costs at all. I know that’s pretty unique in the charity sector and it’s a really important message for the community to hear,” he said.

“Every donation we receive is valued and really goes where it’s intended.”