The church in West Overton was filled to capacity on Thursday 1st September for the funeral of Rev Gill MacKichan who died in Lockeridge on Saturday 20th August.
Gillian MacKichan, always known as Gill, was born in 1934 in London. Her early years were dominated by the Second World War, with evacuation first to Yorkshire and then to a boarding school, where she became Head Girl. She was passionate about sport and chose a career in Physical Education, training at Bedford College. Shortly after qualifying she met Alan MacKichan and they married in 1959. Alan was teaching at Marlborough College and Gill taught PE at Marlborough Grammar school until their sons Ian and Andrew were born.
In 1965 Alan became Housemaster of Summerfield House at the College, where Gill flourished in her caring role as Housemaster’s wife. Their house was chosen to welcome girls when the school pioneered co-education. Former pupils remember with fondness and gratitude an elegant woman who put you instantly at ease and was always ready to listen and advise when necessary.
During this time Gill decided to change career. She trained as a Samaritan and then became a social worker, based at the Princess Margaret hospital in Swindon, specialising in foster care.
In 1982 Alan moved to Haileybury College in Hertfordshire as Deputy Headmaster. Gill then worked in Harlow in the Essex child guidance team.
In 1992 Alan retired and they returned to Wiltshire living at West Bailey in Lockeridge. Gill worked in adoption placement in Swindon.
Since the late 80’s she had been contemplating ordination as a priest in the Church of England. She trained part-time while continuing her social work and was ordained as a deacon in Salisbury Cathedral in 1993 and then as a priest in 1994, one of the very first women to be ordained in the Church of England. She served the Kennet churches for the next 20 years.
Gill was always well informed about politics and national and international events. She was a voracious reader particularly of novels, poetry and history. She loved art.
Her strong social conscience was played out particularly in her support of the Trussell Trust. Equality in all its forms was an important issue for her.
Gill had a lifelong passion for horses and she was never without one from her teenage years until her late 70’s when her hips got the better of her. She was regularly seen around the parish on her beloved Rosie. Dogs were also an important part of her life.
Gill was a colourful character; she loved bright dramatic clothes. She was an enthusiastic, lively and interesting woman. Above all she was a kind and loving friend to all she met.
Alan died in 2003. Gill is survived by Ian, Andrew and her three grandchildren, Millie, Alexander and Hugo.