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Our tribute to Jess Wilkes, our founder’s widow

JESS Wilkes, wife of the late Professor Eric Wilkes, the founder of St Luke’s and a key figure in the national and international hospice movement, died peacefully at home in the Peak District village of Curbar on Friday March 3.

Jess, aged 90, was with her family who had supported her through a short illness.

Our president Lady Neill said: “I am greatly saddened at the news of this gentle and gracious lady's passing.

“Jess Wilkes, like her late husband, was immensely proud of the care extended by St Luke’s and the fact that it was being taken from strength to strength.

“She played her own part in that care by working tirelessly as a volunteer for many years.”

The Wilkes family continues to have an active role in supporting St Luke’s as patrons, advocates and fundraisers, and The Eric Wilkes Prize for outstanding commitment to palliative care is awarded by Sheffield Hallam University each year.

Our Chief Executive Peter Hartland commented: “We will miss Jess whose hard work and dedication supported the development of St Luke’s over many years. 

“Our thoughts go out to her children Ruth, Tom and Matthew, and to her  grandchildren at this difficult time.

“We are proud of our continued association with the family who have done so much for our city.”

The family has asked that donations, in lieu of flowers, be given to St Luke’s and Helen’s Trust. These should be sent to funeral directors J W & J Mettam Ltd, Ambrose House, Granby Croft, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1ET. Cards should also be sent to the funeral directors.

Jess’s funeral will be held from 2pm on Tuesday March 14 at All Saints Church, Curbar Derbyshire.