Rachel returned from a short holiday abroad in October 2018 suffering from an unexplained illness. A month later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. On 24th August she finally lost her courageous battle for life.
Rachel believed passionately in what she did, and the world is a better place because of her. In her sadly shortened life, she made an outstanding contribution through her many roles in the voluntary sector. Her persistence, intellect and sense of morality left their indelible mark.
Her whole career was in public service roles that were dedicated to making a difference, both in service delivery and campaigning.
Her first role was as Vice President (Women) of Oxford University Student Union. She then moved to the National Deaf Children’s Society, where she was a very successful fundraiser, then to the Prince’s Trust where, alongside further success in fundraising, she piloted their social enterprise initiative. Rachel’s work at Voice included promoting child-centred practice in the care system, resulting in an award-winning training scheme.
She held several senior management roles whilst at Victim Support, where her achievements included driving a project which produced recommendations for the 42 incoming Police and Crime Commissioners.
Alongside all this Rachel also found time to be a trustee of Prisoners’ Education Trust and Neighbourhood Watch.
In 2012, she became the Chief Executive at Suzy Lamplugh Trust. She had always been passionate about the work of the ‘violence against women’ sector, and the Trust provided the opportunity to challenge existing practices, which she did.
She demonstrated great leadership in all aspects of the work of the Trust, building its role in caring for victims of stalking, and continuing its wider influence on personal safety.
Under her leadership, the Trust successfully campaigned for laws against stalking. More recently, her powers of persuasion influenced the Government to agree to legislate on national minimum standards for taxis and private hire vehicles.
Whilst at the Trust she helped it reach more people than ever through training, community development projects, and the development of the National Stalking Helpline, which has supported over 30,000 victims.
Her talent and credibility were critical factors two years ago when the Trust secured its biggest ever commission: a £4.1m grant from the Home Office to set up a programme designed to better understand and deal more effectively with both victims and perpetrators of stalking.
There was no task too big and no challenge too complex for her. She was an excellent public speaker, a superb negotiator and an outstanding representative of the Trust at many Select Committee hearings and television interviews, always showing balance and clarity of thought, which brought greater credibility to the position she was advancing.
Sir Ian Johnston, Chair of Trustees Suzy Lamplugh Trust said:
“All of us at Suzy Lamplugh Trust are heartbroken at Rachel’s death. I have known and admired Rachel since she joined the Trust seven years ago. She was definitely in the premier league of managers with whom I worked. She was intelligent, challenging, determined, personable, caring and a world-class human being. Her impact on the Trust has been enormous and will be lasting. We will all miss her terribly, both as a professional and a friend.”
Paul Infield, former Chair of Trustees said:
“From the moment we appointed Rachel she stamped her mark on the Trust. She managed to combine a steely determination with amiability and a very effective management style. She was both caring and efficient. Her effect on the work of the Trust has been incalculable. Her death is a loss both to the Trust and to the whole charity sector.”
A memorial service for Rachel will be held this Friday, the 6th (10:45 for 11am start) at Colliers Wood Community Centre, 66 – 72 High Street, London SW19 2BY.
Everyone is welcome.
There will be drinks after at the Manor pub, at 196 Tooting High St, Tooting, London, SW17 0SF.
Instead of flowers, it was Rachel’s wish to help others and her husband David has set up a Virgin Money Giving page for a selection of charities. You can donate here.