A million partially sighted and blind people will benefit from the bequests in his will, which has just been published.
Mr Southon, of Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset, who was the co-founder and former chairman of the MFI furniture group, died of prostate cancer last July, aged 80. His will leaves most of his estate to three charities: the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), Fight for Sight and the Institute of Cancer Research.
The RNIB, which last year went pounds 2.5m into the red because of a drop in legacies, is set to receive a quarter of the estate. Andrew Essex of the RNIB said the charity was "over the moon" with the bequest.
Mr Southon, who had problems with his own eyesight, also bequeathed pounds 250,000 to the eye unit at his local hospital, the Royal Bournemouth.Reuse content