Beccy Gillings has worn many hats in her 15 years with East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). However, three things have remained consistent – a love of her job, an affection for the charity and a genuine sense of pride working for EACH.
One of the longest-serving employees at the organisation and now part of the Human Resources team, Beccy started as a Community Fundraising Assistant, in 2008.
It was only intended as a short-term arrangement, covering for a colleague on maternity leave. However, her role became permanent and, over the next seven years, she worked in various areas of fundraising, from community and corporate to attending events and working on trusts – a period of her life she remembers with real fondness.
“I’d just been travelling for a year and was living in Milton,” said Beccy, who celebrated her 40th birthday last July.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do and then saw the fundraising job advertised and knew of the hospice. It sounded interesting so I applied and got the job.
“I loved it and got involved with so many different events, usually roping in family and friends (mum Fizz volunteers in EACH’s St Ives shop). It was extremely varied and no two days were ever the same.
“I enjoyed working with the volunteers and friends groups, too, which was a big part of the job. I also used to go and do talks, for schools, community groups and companies, and always felt people were interested to know more.
“I never felt they weren’t listening and I always felt proud talking about EACH. I still feel that sense of pride and there’s a genuine warmth from the public.”
Despite being based in Cambridgeshire, Beccy, who lives in Cambourne, was involved in fundraising projects for The Treehouse and The Nook. She was at the opening of the former when The Princess of Wales – then The Duchess of Cambridge – made her first public speech in 2012.
Having started as maternity cover, Beccy took her own maternity leave in 2015.
“When I was off, I didn’t know what I was going to do in terms of coming back,” she said.
“My fundraising role involved working some weekends and evenings and I knew that could be tricky, having a young family and in terms of childcare. It wasn’t ideal. However, I loved where I worked and wanted to stay with EACH.
“Then I saw a job for an HR assistant.”
She was successful in landing the position and started on a part-time basis in 2016.
“I’d always wanted to work in HR,” said Beccy, who, with husband Ashley, has two daughters, Florence, seven, and Matilda, four.
“I loved the fact I was able to stay and do a completely different job and one that fitted in with my family life. I always thought it was the kind of job I’d like to have done if I hadn’t been in fundraising and, after a year or so, I gained a CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) level three HR qualification.
“It was great because even though I knew EACH extremely well, I wanted to gain more HR experience. That helped a lot. It gave me more knowledge about the processes and how things work and it’s also helped so much working with such a great team of people.”
With the CIPD course being a case in point, Beccy says that in terms of personal development, she has always felt able to develop her career at EACH. She said: “I’ve been on lots of training courses and always felt supported, both by the organisation and my various line managers.
“I’ve made lots of good friends, too, and am still in touch with colleagues from my fundraising days. In HR, it’s lovely following colleagues’ journeys, right from the beginning when it comes to sending out contract offers.
“It’s nice seeing people develop and progress, from that initial contact and their first day to becoming established in their role. Even if I don’t directly work with someone, I’ll meet them and invariably swap emails and messages or speak to them on the phone. It’s nice to meet them and put a face to the name!
“Then, by talking to them, you get a little insight into all the different roles within our organisation, from retail and care to fundraising and marketing and communications. I love that. It’s nice having some involvements in all areas.
“To an extent it’s an all-encompassing role, because I’m liaising with colleagues across the board. There are always new things to learn, too, because there are contract changes, people queries and so on.
“It’s a very busy role but, as a team, we work very well and support each other.”
Beccy says one of her undisputed highlights was having the chance to meet The Princess of Wales at Milton. EACH’s Royal Patron paid a visit with her husband, The Prince of Wales, in June 2022.
“I’ve enjoyed everything about working for EACH, but the fact I was able to do that was very special,” she said.
“It was the experience of a lifetime and an unforgettable day. She was lovely, although I spoke to The Prince more.
“He was so chatty and interested in all of us, wanting to know about our roles and how long we’d worked for EACH. You could tell he was interested in what we were saying and was warm and friendly. I thought they were both so lovely and that was definitely a highlight.”
Beccy says she cannot believe 15 years have passed since first joining EACH.
“It’s gone so quickly,” she said.
“I’ve seen a lot of change and a lot of people come and go, but I’d say it’s one of the best organisations to work for and I’d recommend anyone to come and work for EACH. There are so many roles and such variety.
“It’s a great organisation and I always feel proud to say I work for EACH. I always have done. You feel you’re making a difference and people always react positively. They’re interested and want to know more, which speaks volumes.”
Published in March 2023