A WOMAN who helped run her parents' farm for 40 years and cared for them in old age has been written out of their will - with the entire £1.5m estate left to the RSPCA.

Dr Christine Gill said she was "deeply hurt and bewildered" when she discovered Potto Carr Farm, near Potto, Northallerton, in North Yorkshire, had been bequeathed to the charity.

She has been completely disinherited, despite moving to an adjoining property 20 years ago so she and her husband, Andrew, could be on hand to help at all times.

Dr Gill, who is an only child, also went part-time in her job as a lecturer at the University of Leeds so she could care for her parents and, in later years, run the farm.

Her father, John Gill, died in 1999, and her mother, Joyce, died in August last year. It was only then that Dr Gill, 56, found out that, in 1993, her parents had made a mirror will, leaving everything to each other and, on the death of the last survivor, bequeathing everything to the RSPCA.

Dr Gill, who has a ten-year-old son, Christopher, said there had never been any family disagreements and was baffled as to the reasons behind the will.

"All my life has revolved around the farm, affecting my choice of college and job," she said.

"To lose the farm is like having my heart and soul ripped out."

Dr Gill is having court papers drawn up to challenge the will under the 1975 Inheritance Act, and has until October 15 to lodge them. She has also been trying to negotiate with the RSPCA.

Charity spokeswoman Leanne Goacher said: "We can confirm that the RSPCA has been bequeathed a very generous legacy under the will of Mrs Gill, who died on August 21, 2006.

"Mrs Gill's will contains her last wishes, which were that her entire estate should pass to the charity.

"The RSPCA is aware of the claim by Mrs Gill's daughter. The charity is unable to comment on the details of the case, but hopes that it can be resolved without the need for legal proceedings."