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Gill Stoker, 1954 - 2024

Update: the appeal started in Gill's memory to raise funds for St. Christopher's Hospice has now raised more than £1,600. If you'd like to make a donation you can do so here.

Our colleague of twenty-five years, Gill Stoker, died on Tuesday 13th February, nine months after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour.

She joined the library in 1999 and for a quarter of a century brought great energy to her work cataloguing, captioning and keywording our images. Gill was meticulous in her work, expert in her knowledge of both history and english grammar and an excellent proof reader to boot.

Gill loved poetry and was single-handedly responsible for our Poems and Pictures microsite. What started out as an occasional blog soon evolved into an extremely successful project, publishing a poem every week, each illustrated by an image from our collection and featuring some of the finest poets working today. In Gill's memory, Poems and Pictures will continue, and we'll be contacting poets shortly with an appeal for new submissions.

Beyond Mary Evans, Gill led a remarkable life: She studied drama at Rose Bruford College and singing at the Blackheath Conservatoire, appearing many times on stage and screen. She was a lover of classical music, and had an amazing memory for opera libretti, often surprising friends by breaking into song at the mere mention of a something by Mozart or Verdi. She also conceived, wrote and starred in a one woman show about the life of the composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth.

Gill was also an associate lecturer at the Open University for twenty-one years having completed her PhD: Sir John Tenniel: a study of his development as an artist, with particular reference to the Book Illustrations and Political Cartoons at King's College, London in 1994.

In her 'spare' time she gave english lessons to students at home, online, and also via her immensely successful Youtube channel which has a remarkable 1.97 million subscribers. Several of her students remained lifelong friends.

Gill's husband, the composer Richard Stoker, died in early 2021. Gill and Richard met in 1984 when she replied to his advertisement for a singer to help him with some jazz compositions. In his memory she established the Richard Stoker Trust to support young musicians and to promote Richard's work. We will miss Gill very much.