A Stanmore resident who created the first-ever Macmillan Coffee Morning – an initiative which has gone on to raise more than £290million – has sadly passed away.
Gillian (Jill) Philips created the fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support in 1990, having joined the charity in 1980, with the idea being for people to gather over a coffee in their workplace or home and donate the cost of their cuppa to Macmillan. It has now grown to become the charity’s single biggest fundraising event.
Tributes have been paid to Jill, who passed away at her nursing home aged 83 on August 13.
cHer sister Anne Easter Smith, an award-winning novelist, said: “I often described Jill as the most organised woman in London, and anyone who ever worked with her will attest to that! Once her brilliant mind came up with a fundraising idea, she would put her heart and soul into making it succeed.
“Macmillan was a passionate cause for her during her 15-year tenure there, and I am only too sorry that, due to her particular form of dementia, she never knew how successful her Coffee Morning brainchild had become.”
Lynda Thomas CBE, Macmillan’s chief executive, said: “Jill was a valued member of the Macmillan family for many years and played such an important part in our history.
“Jill was the driving force behind the first Macmillan Coffee Morning, as well as many other fundraising initiatives. We simply could not have achieved what we’ve done without her incredible support.”
Jill was also pivotal in launching several other high-profile Macmillan fundraising events, including the popular House of Lords vs House of Commons Tug of War, which still takes place annually.
As a result of her fundraising legacy and influence, Jill had the honour of leading the Macmillan nurses in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Parade in 2002.
Her memorial will be held in Wimbledon on September 22. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jill’s name may be made to Macmillan Cancer Support, Integrated Neurological Services, the National Theatre, or the Globe Theatre.