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Tributes to Jane Whitley

News St Martin – Talking Points

Friday 6 June 2014

“When I came to St Martin’s I quickly realised Jane Whitley was a person I needed to visit, because she had played such a significant role in our history.

“She gave me a characteristically meticulous account of her first involvement and long season of being at the heart of our community. She was also very detailed in her account of the intricacies of the civil service. However she was very modest, so I had to gain from others a more detailed sense of her real contribution.

“The theme that has come through consistently is that of her encouragement of others. She was the first to seek out a newcomer and show how they may play a role in our common life. She was an assiduous trainer of readers and of intercessors (‘Never more than 4 minutes!’ was her counsel). She was an enthusiastic member of the scrub club that poured its love into care for the church’s fabric. She saw in Nick Holtam a person she believed was the right person to lead St Martin’s at a crucial moment in its history and was part of the group that appointed in him.

“This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the encourager. Jane was the encourager. Sometimes we complain we can’t see the Holy Spirit. Maybe we haven’t been paying attention. Thank God for the life of Jane Whitley.”

Revd Dr Sam Wells
Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields


“Social Care at St Martins owes an enormous amount to Jane. Not only did she write the history but she also played a major role in shaping the future.

“By being on the Boards of both the Social Care Unit and the London Connection she realised the case for merger long before others, and helped to create the trust and vision which was essential if the two organisations were going to become one. We also benefitted from her passion for sailing as groups of young homeless people were able, through her contacts and enthusiasm, to experience the thrills and dangers of being under sail.

“For many individuals this experience was a life-changer as they conquered fears, learned to work as a team and achieved something special, not dissimilar to our organisational journey.”

Colin Glover
CEO, The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields


“Jane was the driving force behind the setting up of the Friends of the Social Care Unit in 1989.  She also almost singlehandedly ran the office of the Friends from then until early 2002. Her official title during that time was Honorary Treasurer, but she was far more than that and was responsible for nearly every function of the charity. On retiring as treasurer in 2002, she became Vice-President and later acting President when the then President died at the end of 2006.

“She cared passionately and deeply for the plight of homeless and other less fortunate people.  What singled her out were her persistence, her dedication and her refusal to accept anything but the highest standards – coupled with her deep caring.  Even after she retired from the committee in 2009, she remained enthusiastic about the work of the Friends, offering us support in whatever way we needed it.”

Lesley Cannon
The Friends of The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields