Celebrating Gill Wyatt’s ECOE legacy

Gill Wyatt and Hertha Taverner-Wood with ECOE's Exeter College installation

Gill Wyatt and Hertha Taverner-Wood with ECOE’s Exeter College installation

Gill Wyatt, Exeter Community Energy founding director and former chair and chief executive officer, has left the board. She has also passed her role as manager of ECOE’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing project to Tara Bowers. However Gill will continue as the Healthy Homes Community Liaison Officer and a Home Energy Advisor.

ECOE would not be what it is today without Gill’s leadership, commitment and hard work. She managed ECOE’s first eight solar projects, from finding roofs to the installations. That included organising and raising the community share offer, securing over £400,000 in under two months – truly an amazing feat.

Gill has also been inspired by working for social justice. So when ECOE decided to develop a fuel poverty project, Gill leapt at the chance to establish and manage it. During her management of Healthy Homes for Wellbeing it has become highly successful. Healthy Homes has secured funding, and grown in size so it can support more households. It has become well respected by a wide range of health, social care and community and local authority referrers.

Tributes from the team

‘We all owe Gill an enormous debt,’ said Andy Extance, ECOE’s new chair. ‘As the rest of us on the ECOE team have taken on the tasks she had shouldered, we’ve realised how hard they are. Gill dealt with all the challenges she faced with great perseverance. I’m certainly pleased that she’s still with us so we continue to benefit from that.’

‘Gill was instrumental in setting up Exeter Communty Energy and her rigour and persistence made us the successful organisation we are today,’ adds director Hertha Taverner-Wood. ‘I was pleased to be one of the co-founders with Gill as we had a similar vision of the governance of a community benefit society. And I thoroughly enjoyed working with Gill on Solar PV 1 and 2 as together we navigated a multitude of challenges which were only overcome by Gill’s determination. I learnt a lot from her. Gill really believed in what communities could achieve when they worked together and put – possibly too much – of her heart and soul in to ECOE. I would like to give my love and appreciation for everything she did for us.’

Inspiration and leadership

During the ECOE’s Annual General Meeting on July 15, other members and supporters also expressed their gratitude. One was ECOE member, Dr Tim Malone from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. ‘Thank you Gill for all your hard work, dedication to the work, enthusiasm, time and indeed inspiration,’ Tim said. ‘Thank you particularly for your help in educating colleagues in the NHS and health and care sector.’

Another was ECOE member, Reverend Sheila Swarbrick, Rector of the Parish of Central Exeter. ‘I remember meeting Gill on a Saturday morning in February 2012 when I had volunteered to help with an energy survey of residents in the St David’s area,’ said Sheila. ‘She was encouraging and inspirational then and has continued to work with energy and enthusiasm, giving inspiration and leadership to ECOE from its very earliest days. Thank you, Gill for all that you have contributed and for your commitment. Enjoy some free time now though no doubt you will keep yourself busy.’

Mark Allen, a former ECOE Home Energy Advisor, also paid tribute. ‘Thank you for introducing me to ECOE and all your hard work in making it a success,’ he said.

These are just a small sample of all of the many grateful messages Gill has received. They reflect the great legacy she has built at ECOE, which will persist for decades to come.