Staff at Alice House have paid tribute to a much-loved Volunteer who sadly died unexpectedly in November 2021.
Gillian Holbrook volunteered in a variety of roles at the Hospice, initially supporting patients in the Holistic Wellbeing Centre and later as part of the Fundraising Team, working on events, sales and administration.
On 26 November, Gillian and her husband Phil (also a Hospice volunteer and fundraiser) had been volunteering on the charity’s Trees of Remembrance stall and after that, called in to Alice House together to collect some Hospice Lottery winnings.
Later that day, when Gillian was driving home alone after dropping Phil off at his choir practice, it is believed that she felt unwell, at which point she stopped the car and gathered her valuables. As she made her way to the pavement, she collapsed and despite the efforts of two kind passers-by and paramedics, Gillian died at the scene. It was later discovered that her death was caused by a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
Her friends at Alice House were shocked and very sad to hear this news and wanted to do something special to help remember Gillian and acknowledge all of her help and kindness. It was suggested that the Hospice’s Fundraising Office be renamed in Gillian’s memory and both Phil and staff members agreed that this was a good idea and a fitting dedication.
A plaque has now been placed outside the room in which Gillian worked, naming it The Gillian Holbrook Fundraising Office and Phil attended the official unveiling of the plaque.
Phil said “Both myself and Gillian’s daughter, Sarah are very proud to think that Gillian has been recognised in a place that meant so much to her. The Gillian Holbrook Fundraising Office will help to remind people of the role that she played there. Sarah is really looking forward to seeing the plaque, along with her partner, Robbie, and Gillian’s new-born granddaughter, Ailsa.”
Julie Hildreth, Fundraising Senior Manager at Alice House said “We miss Gillian so much and she was such a big part of our team. She gave so much and was always a pleasure to be around – such a lovely and generous person. We hope that this tribute goes some way to showing what she meant to us; she will never be forgotten.”
Alice House would also like to thank Hartlepool College of Further Education, who designed and created Gillian’s plaque, free of charge.
Gillian’s story is the cover feature in the latest edition of the Hospice’s Hello, my name is… Alice supporter magazine, which is available now from the Hospice, free of charge.