Amazing Annette

Annette Wallis

In March 2022 our longest-serving and much-loved trustee Annette Wallis retired from the Southall Trust following almost SIXTY years of service.

Annette became a trustee on 5th December 1962. She was 33 at the time and, to put things into context, that year the first James Bond film ‘Dr. No’ was in the cinema and the Beatles had just released their first single ‘Love Me Do’!

The Southall Trust was founded by Annette’s grandfather (Wilfred Southall) in 1937, along with Annette’s mother (Gwen Catchpool) and uncle (Dr Kenneth Southall). 

It was Annette’s passion to support charities involved in peace and reconciliation that encouraged her to join the Southall Trust. She was inspired by her father, Corder Catchpool, who was imprisoned for his anti-war pacifist views during World War I. He is remembered for his attempts to broker peace between Nazi Germany and the UK prior to World War II.

Although she was a child at the time, Annette’s memories are vivid of living in Berlin in the 1930s and the Gestapo arresting and interrogating her father. Corder Catchpool was persecuted for trying to help Jewish people and others escape the imminent torture they would face. He and his wife Gwen devoted their lives to promoting peace and human rights and Annette has continued her parents’ legacy through the Southall Trust.

Annette and her cousins, Daphne Maw and Jean Greaves, ran the Trust as volunteers from their homes, from the 1960s until the 1990s, while also raising their respective families. During these years hundreds of UK charities were supported by the Trust – mainly those focussed on peace and reconciliation, social justice, and Quaker causes. Also, during this period Annette volunteered for Oxfam in Leicester, where she served for 38 years.

By the 1990s the Southall Trust had grown so large that an employee was needed to help with its growing operation. However, Annette and her fellow trustees remained actively involved with Trust work, by assessing all eligible applications behind the scenes. 

The current Secretary of the Trust, Wil Berdinner, said of Annette:

It has been such a privilege to work with Annette during her final chapter at the Trust. Applicants to the Trust may not know that since the 1960s she has been an assessor for most applications. She continues to work with phenomenal dedication to the cause and, for me personally, she is someone who has always been at the end of the phone, or an email whenever needed. Everyone at the Trust will really miss her wisdom and her presence.

Annette’s legacy at the Southall Trust continues through one of her six children and two of her 10 grandchildren. They are trustees alongside five other descendants of Wilfred Southall.

Annette’s story attracted the interest of the charity press, with Third Sector magazine asking ‘Is this the UK’s longest-serving charity trustee?’ An interview with Annette also featured in the Spring 2022 edition of the Association of Charitable Foundations’ ‘Trust & Foundation News (TFN)’ magazine, a copy of which is below:

The Southall Trustees presenting Annette with a ‘thank you’ basket at her final meeting.

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