A minute’s silence was observed at the meeting of Enderby Parish Council on April 8th 2015, in memory of Cllr. Jill Blackwell, who sadly passed away on 17th March 2015 after a protracted illness.
Jill lived in Chapel Street, Blaby and will be sadly missed in Enderby and many other communities in the south of Leicestershire.
Born in 1940, Jill had led a very rich life, working hard for long hours so that the lives of others might be improved.
The website of the South Leicestershire Conservatives, of whom Jill was a member, carried news of her passing saying [Jill] was a very brave lady who refused to let her illness get in the way of her duties. They also wrote that she only very recently took the decision not to stand in the elections in May this year, something she found very hard to do.
Jill was involved in voluntary work for over 40 years, becoming a local councillor in 1991, (Braunstone Town Council) whilst at the same time bringing up four children and working as a Director of a business partnership.
She also served on Enderby Parish Council from 2007 to 2013 and was still a Blaby District Councillor (Enderby & St John’s Ward) and a Blaby Parish Councillor at the time of her death.
A Community Development Worker in two schools for over 15 years, she set up a Partially Sighted Group, a Parent & Toddler Group, an Over-50’s Group and Book Start.
Jill had been a Governor at Brockington College since 1999, sitting on various committees, including Finance and Personnel and serving at disciplinary hearings and helping to set up the School Travel Plan.
For 16 years, she taught literacy, numeracy, food handling and life and social skills in Glen Parva Young Offenders’ Centre.
Jill loved animals and was a Director/Trustee on Community Action Partnership and a trustee of the Leicester & Leicestershire Animal Aid Association (LAA) at Huncote.
She was Chairman of Blaby District Council twice and for her second term, in 2012/2013, she chose Leicester Animal Aid as the Chairman’s charity, raising £1,121.00.
Jill said she was, “Passionate about the fantastic work that LAA does for cats and dogs.”
There was more, much more. Jill never stopped and – when she was not working for the local community, or enjoying the company of her children (three boys and one girl) and her seven grandchildren – she was busy elsewhere.
She enjoyed singing and for the last 20 years sang soprano in the choir at All Saints Church, Blaby. She even found time to learn the art of bell-ringing. To relax, if there was ever any time left over, Jill enjoyed gardening.
But Jill rarely relaxed, often going out to long days of meetings, despite her ill health. No one person will be able to fill all the roles taken on by Jill. Her legacy will last a very long time.
Jill’s funeral was held at All Saints Church, Blaby, on Friday, 27th March 2015. In addition to family members, the church was packed with people from all the various walks of life with which she had been involved. Those attending included representatives from Enderby Parish Council, Blaby District Council, Leicestershire County Council and the outgoing former Leicestershire South M.P., Mr Andrew Rabathan.
To a hushed congregation, Jill’s granddaughter, Beally Rose Mitchell, courageously overcame her emotions and sang one of Jill’s favourite songs, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.
The church service was followed by a private committal at Gilroes Cemetery. The family had requested no flowers, but suggested instead that donations be made to Huncote Animal Aid.