WORKERS at an Oxfordshire-based animal charity are staggered to have received a £100,000 donation from dead fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

Burford-based Blue Cross was given the donation in Mr McQueen’s will but said it had never had any direct dealings with the 40-year-old, who took a cocktail of drugs and hanged himself 18 months ago at his London home.

Mr McQueen also left £50,000 to pay for his own pet dogs to be looked after for the rest of their lives, while bequeathing another £100,000 to London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Kim Hamilton, the chief executive of Blue Cross, which is based in Shilton Road, Burford, said: “The Blue Cross relies on donations to help animals in need, so we’re thrilled to have been chosen to receive such a generous legacy from Alexander McQueen.

“It’s a touching tribute to his obvious love for his dogs and his legacy will allow us to help thousands more sick and homeless animals across the UK.”

Mr McQueen left most of his estate to his Sarabande charity, to fund bursaries and grants for students at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, where he studied fashion.

He was born in London’s East End in 1969. The son of a taxi driver, he left school at 16 but rose through the fashion industry to become one of the world’s leading designers.

An inquest in April last year heard that he killed himself after struggling with depression, the pressures of his work and his mother’s death. He killed himself in February last year, the day before his mother Joyce’s funeral.

The hearing was told that he saw his huge international success as a double-edged sword and became “overwhelmed with grief” after his mother died.

Police found a book at the designer’s flat on the back of which he had scribbled: “Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee.”

The fashion house that bears McQueen’s name remains hugely influential. The Duchess of Cambridge’s intricately decorated wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, received rave reviews on her big day in April and is on display at Buckingham Palace.

The Blue Cross runs animal adoption centres at Burford and Lewknor, along with a network of similar centres and animal hospitals across England and Scotland.

For details, see bluecross. or call 0300 777 1897.