Former WRVS Suffolk organiser Jill Cross has died peacefully at home

Jill Cross. Picture: PIPPA CROSS

Jill Cross. Picture: PIPPA CROSS - Credit: Archant

The long-serving former Suffolk county organiser of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service has died at the age of 93.

Jill Cross receiving her MBE from The Queen in 1993. Picture: PIPPA CROSS

Jill Cross receiving her MBE from The Queen in 1993. Picture: PIPPA CROSS - Credit: Archant

Jill Cross was born and brought up in Ipswich and was married to Ipswich Borough Council chief executive Bob Cross.

They had met at the Ipswich Gramophone Society in 1949 and were married a few months later when he was a young solicitor making his way at the borough council.

As he became a senior official at the borough, Mrs Cross gave him support – she especially shared his vision of turning the Corn Exchange into an entertainment venue for the town.

She also trained as a potter at the Ipswich Civic College (Later Suffolk College) in the 1960s.

She was with her husband when the Corn Exchange was visited by The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations.

At this time she was also a volunteer for the WRVS, volunteering at the Thornbank Home it ran and drove for the Meals on Wheels service it provided.

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After her husband died suddenly in November 1977, Mrs Cross was persuaded to take on a management role in the WRVS and became county organiser.

At the time the WRVS ran many services in the county including Meals on Wheels and she had a large team working with her.

In 1993 her work for the WRVS was recognised when she became an MBE which was presented to her by The Queen at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Her daughter, Pippa, said she recorded the investiture in her diary, including an exchange which made The Queen laugh.

The entry said: “ ‘How long have you been in the WRVS?’ The Queen asks. ‘Forever’ pops out. ‘What do you mean, back to wartime?’ ‘Well not quite but it seems forever!’ At which point The Queen throws her head back and roars with laughter.”

Another member of the family said it was the only time The Queen laughed out loud during the ceremony.

Mrs Cross lived in Ipswich all her life until 2015 when she moved to a flat in Eastbourne to be nearer her family. She died peacefully at home.

She leaves her daughter, son in law Graham and two grandchildren – Maisie and Pierrot.