13:02, September 11 50 0 theguardian.com

2017-09-11 13:02:02
Other lives  Gill Vine obituary

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, who was known as John, was a submariner, while her mother, Olive, was a volunteer in various capacities.

In the second world war the family followed John from base to base. In peacetime, when he went to manage 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 were married in 1965.

The National Housewives Register began life 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 as trustee. When 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 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. One prisoner’s letter reflects them all: “She touched me and many others in a way that means her spirit lives on.”

Edward survives her, along with their daughter, Helen, their son, Paul, and five grandchildren.