Other lives

Gill Vine

The Guardian - - OBITUARIES - Jean Stirk

My friend Gill Vine, who has died aged 81, was ac­tive in the Na­tional Housewives Reg­is­ter, later re­named the Na­tional Women’s Reg­is­ter, and was a mem­ber of the In­de­pen­dent Mon­i­tor­ing Board, which works to main­tain stan­dards of de­cency and care in pris­ons.

She was born in Portsmouth. Both her par­ents came from naval fam­i­lies; her fa­ther, Fred­er­ick An­der­son, known as John, was a sub­mariner, and her mother, Olive, was a vol­un­teer. Dur­ing the sec­ond world war the fam­ily fol­lowed John from base to base. In peace­time, when he man­aged a power sta­tion, they moved to War­ring­ton, then to Two Mills in Cheshire, where Gill at­tended Wade Dea­con gram­mar school in Widnes.

Gill read so­ci­ol­ogy and crim­i­nol­ogy at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics, then worked in PR be­fore be­com­ing per­sonal as­sis­tant to the medical di­rec­tor of the Chal­font Cen­tre for Epilepsy, Ger­rards Cross, for sev­eral years. In 1957 she met Ed­ward Vine, a quan­tity sur­veyor, at a rugby club ball in Lon­don, and they mar­ried in 1965.

The Na­tional Housewives Reg­is­ter be­gan in 1960 when a Guardian reader, Mau­reen Ni­col, wrote to the pa­per in re­sponse to an ar­ti­cle by Betty Jer­man head­lined “Squeezed In Like Sar­dines in Sub­ur­bia”, sug­gest­ing a reg­is­ter of “house­bound wives with lib­eral in­ter­ests and a de­sire to re­main in­di­vid­u­als”.

Gill and I joined our lo­cal branches, and as the NHR ex­panded and needed a new struc­ture, we were voted on to the new na­tional group in 1976. Our roles were to run daily mat­ters and de­velop the status of the or­gan­i­sa­tion to be­come a reg­is­tered char­ity and, later, an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion. As pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, then na­tional or­gan­iser un­til 1980 and a trustee from 1991, Gill ably led the group un­til 2001, when she re­tired.

The fol­low­ing year one NWR of­fice em­ployee brought a court case against an­other, and so against the or­gan­i­sa­tion; the chair­man of the tri­bunal noted that Gill had “left a legacy of value and it is patently sad to see that the or­gan­i­sa­tion which she val­ues finds it­self the sub­ject of a com­plaint of this na­ture”.

Vol­un­tary in­volve­ment came nat­u­rally to Gill. While her chil­dren were young she was a school gover­nor, par­ish coun­cil­lor and youth club sup­porter; from 1987 un­til 1993 she was gen­eral sec­re­tary of Buck­ing­hamshire coun­cil for vol­un­tary youth ser­vices; and for 22 years she was president of Buck­ing­hamshire girl guid­ing. Gill was also a coun­sel­lor for peo­ple with drugs and al­co­hol prob­lems. In 2005, she was ap­pointed deputy lieu­tenant of Buck­ing­hamshire.

A trustee of Bucks As­so­ci­a­tion for the Care of Of­fend­ers for 25 years and its chair from 1996 un­til 2017, she sup­ported pris­on­ers in four Buck­ing­hamshire pris­ons, and ex-of­fend­ers. Trees have been planted at two pris­ons in Gill’s mem­ory, with eu­lo­gies from sev­eral pris­on­ers.

Ed­ward sur­vives her, as do their daugh­ter, He­len, son, Paul, and five grand­chil­dren.

Gill Vine was ac­tive in the Na­tional Housewives Reg­is­ter, be­gun in 1960 for ‘house­bound wives with lib­eral in­ter­ests’

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