Retirement of Gillis Burgess

At our 2014 AGM on 11 June the Trustees and members present said farewell to Gillis Burgess, who has been a Trustee of Futures for Women (and SPTW) for forty-one years and is also an ex-Chair of the Board.  Gillis has decided that now is the time to retire from active duty although she remains a member of the Society and will continue to be a supporter of our work.

After announcing Gillis’ decision to retire from the Board Chair Elspeth Richards gave a vote of thanks to Gillis for her fantastic devotion to the work of FfW.  Elspeth Richards said “I first met Gillis in the early nineties. She was chairing a meeting of Trustees. I was impressed by her clear thinking, plain speaking, excellent diction, and her air of authority. This was a charity I felt was well managed and I wanted to join it.

“Gillis became a Trustee in 1973, vice-chair in 1989 and chair in 1993. She was a real asset to SPTW as we were then. She brought considerable administrative experience from her work with the PCAC. Her knowledge of the antiquarian book trade proved invaluable when it came to reorganising our archives. Because of her work our charity was able to hold Trustee meetings at the offices. Anyone who has tried to hire a meeting room in London will know what a benefit that was to our funds.


“Our charity, founded in 1859, has a rich historical archive. When Mrs Golding, Secretary for 50 years died it was Gillis who organised the removal of the files and records from Mrs Golding’s home to the offices of PCAC thus preserving our archives. These documents are now held at Girton College, Cambridge, where they are often consulted by students and historians as they contain fascinating details of women in the workplace from Victorian times onwards. Gillis organised a bursary for a research student to examine the archives. That student, Dr Anne Bridger, is here today and she with Ellen Jordan, co-wrote our history ‘Timely Assistance.’ And what a benefit that has been for us and for many students.

“We thank you, Gillis, for forty-one years of commitment to Futures for Women as Trustee and Chair. We will miss your wise counsel in Board meetings your knowledge of our history and you sense of humour. Your attention to detail is meticulous you quickly spot our misspellings and grammatical errors. Your dedication to our charity has not only helped countless grantees, but in it you have furthered the cause of women”

Following the Chair’s vote of thanks to Gillis all members present shared a cup of tea and farewell cake.

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