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Woman who rented her home for over two decades shocked to learn landlord gifted her his property

The generous landlord who was also a philanthropist died in September 2020.

Woman who rented her home for over two decades shocked to learn landlord gifted her his property
Cover Image Source: YouTube | A Current Affair

Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 6, 2023. It has since been updated.

John Perrett lived a full life and was known for his generosity. Over his 83 years, Perrett worked a number of roles including that of a pharmacist, a football player, a property investor, and a philanthropist. Perrett had not only amassed a multi-million-dollar fortune in his lifetime but much of it was given away to charity. A bulk of his riches, $19.6 million of it, had gone to the Royal Melbourne Hospital's nephrology department. Towards the end of his life, Perrett moved into a nursing home while battling Parkinson's disease but he made a mark in his community as one of the most generous men they had ever seen. He sadly died in September 2020 at the age of 86.

According to My Tributes, Perrett's "friendships were few but cherished." He grew up playing football and tennis and enjoyed riding across the paddocks. He spent "most of his professional life as a pharmacist in Main Road West, and (for a time) also worked a small farm his father had bought. He was devoted to his father and cared for him in his last years. In the last little while John followed his father's decline, and died at peace."



One community member who will be forever grateful to the philanthropist is his tenant Jane Sayner. The 74-year-old Melbourne woman moved into a two-bedroom unit with a garden in St Albans, north-west of Melbourne nearly 23 years ago. Despite living there for decades she never knew one day the home would be hers. "(I) still sometimes think, 'did this really happen'?" she told A Current Affair. "I got a phone call from him one day and he said, 'I want you to talk to my solicitor, he is here at the moment and can you give him your full name because I'm leaving you the unit'." Sayner retired from working at a market in Epping and is just enjoying time in her garden. "I thank him still, every day of my life … just privately, I say, 'thanks John'," Sayner said.



According to 7 News the wealthy man had no living family and rarely spent money on himself. “He had this old, old television with a green picture and it had this hum in it and for years we would sit there and I’d say, ‘John you would really appreciate the cricket more if you could see it properly’,” Jane told the outlet. The millionaire's donations have also been appreciated by the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he had gone to get a kidney transplant 30 years ago. "We are extremely grateful as a department of the hospital at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for such a bequest. It's just amazing. That kidney transplant lasted 30-plus years and it was still functioning when he passed away in his mid-80s. That was a life-saving gift, I guess, to take him off dialysis and he was obviously grateful for the care that he received, for all the doctors and nursing and medical staff to look after him at the Royal Melbourne Hospital," Professor Nigel Toussiant from the Royal Melbourne Hospital said. The hospital also plans to pay tribute to Perrett and his record contributions with commemorative plaques.


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