6 April 2022

Jill Brinkworth – A tribute

Neal pays tribute to the formidable Jill Brinkworth, who retired earlier this year.

Reps who volunteer to serve members are always really appreciated and missed when they step down, but February saw a massive loss when Jill Brinkworth finally took a retirement that it was beyond my power to stop. It was a pity that as Jill left restrictions around Covid-19 meant that members couldn’t be more engaged. Also as was Jill’s way she insisted on as little fuss as possible. On a personal note, having seen many splendid send-offs in what now seems the distant past, this gave me sleepless nights. As group president, Jill’s role in organising the group and engaging in wider union activities for the group’s benefit helped me enormously. As branch secretary I saw Jill become the “face” of the branch and her engagement with new starters and friendly check-ins of branch members during the pandemic made her enormously well liked, and a great influence on the branch – ensuring numbers of members actually increased during the most difficult of times. 

No candidate was put forward during the election to replace Jill as branch assistant secretary and there may also be no candidate across the group for Jill’s group role – leaving both a gaping hole and a great opportunity for members, if and when we come out to you after May’s group conference, seeking interest.  

For those of you – and I’m sure there will be many – who would have hoped for a decent send-off – group officers arranged for a card and mug covered in photos from Jill’s many activities – including some of her carrying the PCS flag to different parts of the world, some flowers and other bits – there is no greater leaving present than a PCS T-shirt. A good number of her union colleagues and former colleagues celebrated her last day with a meal and drink at the Live Lounge – ending with the hilarious spectacle of the arriving students congratulating us on being out past 10pm, which apparently made us “brilliant”. Thank heaven for thick skins.

Those of you who did know Jill won’t be surprised that she immediately joined ARMS and will be active there – and she is an everyday presence with several of us through her fundamentalist love of Wordle.