Suffolk philanthropist Jill Ganzoni remembered

Jill Ganzoni

Suffolk philanthropist Jill Ganzoni had died at the age of 91. - Credit: Philippa Goodwin

One of Suffolk's best-known figures, the Hon Jill Ganzoni, has died at the age of 91.

The sister of former Lord Lieutenant Lord Belstead, Jill Ganzoni was well-known in her own right as a Deputy Lieutenant, as a philanthropist, and for her work with many organisations in the county.

She was born in Ipswich in 1931, the only daughter of Francis John Childs Ganzoni, the 1st Baron Belstead and Conservative MP for Ipswich, and Gwendoline (nee Turner).

Her brother John was born a year later. They had a happy childhood, growing up in the family home, Stoke Park, on the edge of Ipswich. Keen on riding, her love of horses continued well into adulthood.

On the death of Jill’s father in 1958, her brother became the 2nd Lord Belstead, serving as a minister under three Conservative Prime Ministers and as Leader of the House of Lords. Jill supported him throughout his career.

Her cousin Philippa Goodwin said Jill lived in Suffolk for most of her life, involving herself in the communities where she lived. She played a role in many local charities and organisations.

Always interested in education, she was Chair of Governors at Ipswich High School from 1994-2006.

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Having been a dedicated girl guide herself Jill went on to be Vice President of the Suffolk Division through the 1960s and 70s, playing host to guiding events in her garden.

Jill was one of the guiding lights of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, helping the 11th Duke of Grafton along with Norman Scarfe and Alfred Williams of Haughley Park to launch the Trust in December 1973.

She also helped launch its annual cycle ride that has raised £5m over the years for the charity.

The Church of England was central to Jill’s life and she became a lay reader. In 2007 she was awarded the Cross of St Augustine at a ceremony in the Chapel at Lambeth Palace which marked her 25 years on the General Synod.

It was her work on its Pensions Board, caring for retired clergy, that she considered her most significant achievement.

Her Ganzoni Charitable Trust offered support to charities across Suffolk, complementing a similar trust set up by her brother.

The Trust worked to target small concerns where relatively minor donations could make a large difference. In this way it reached across a huge range of causes. She remained actively involved in the Trust until a couple of years ago.

Jill’s brother John died in 2005. She made many friends through her life and is survived by several second cousins.