It is with great sadness to report that Mrs Beryl A. Pilkington passed away on Thursday 17th May 2018.
Beryl has been a leading person in our charity for 35 years. In 1983, Beryl left her job as Registrar for Bury's Family Practitioner Committee to become the Chief Officer for Age Concern Metro Bury. Beryl came to a small charity with just two members of staff. When she left that figure had risen to thirty-five. During her time, the charity increased their range of services which included insurance, day-care, the safely home scheme (which supported older people leaving hospital), information and advice and, by utilising funds from the Manpower Services Scheme, painting and decorating.
Beryl’s greatest achievement came with the opening of the Jubilee Centre, by the Clarence Park Lido. When the water in the Lido had become unsafe to swim in, the changing rooms by the Lido had fallen into ruins. Beryl persuaded Bury Council to grant the charity permission to take the old buildings down and allow Age Concern to build on the land. To pay for the new building, Beryl and her committee had to raise every penny from income generated in the charity shops and from grants from charitable trusts.
In September 1996, The Jubilee Centre was opened as an indoor and outdoor pursuits centre used for people aged 50 and over. Its aim was to run a range of activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, dancing and art to keep older people active, healthy and connected with each other. To this day, it remains a unique facility for older people in Bury and there is no other centre like it in the North West. The centre offers 30 activities and is visited by over 600 older people every week.
In 2005, Beryl retired from her position as Chief Officer after 22 years. As she lived nearby, Beryl became a regular member at the Jubilee and took up a weekly art class with her husband, Tom. In 2008, Beryl was invited by Mr James Heywood to become a member of the trustee board. Beryl then served as the Chair of the trustee board from 2011 to 2018.
Andrew Hazeldine, Chief Officer of Age UK Bury said “Beryl was an outstanding champion for older people in Bury. The Jubilee Centre is her legacy that continues to make a massive difference to the lives of local older people. On both a personal and professional level, I have always valued Beryl’s support, advice and friendship. My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time".
Joan Rees, the Chair of Age UK Bury said “I have known Beryl for many years, first as a volunteer, then as Deputy to her role as Chair of Age UK Bury. During this period of time we became friends and her knowledge of the organisation and the Jubilee Centre which she passed on to me was invaluable.
In January 2018 when I took over the role of Chair, her support and that knowledge were paramount and for that I am very grateful. She will be missed both as a friend and trustee.”
Tom, Beryl's husband, sadly passed away in October 2018. Tom and Beryl will be remembered with great affection by all at the Jubilee Centre.