We heard a few days ago that sadly Gill Evans, stalwart of play in Wales, and Play Wales (and we suspect play for whales) died this week.
I’m not going to stop making jokes, because I know Gill wouldn’t want me to. Evans the play, we called her, top of the milk she was.
—-an appreciation from the Playstock organisers —
I never got to know Gill Evans as well as I should (implying that this was my failing rather than hers). I got to appreciate her more this summer as I ‘organised’ the completely independent and unofficial Playstock ‘festival of play’ which took place completely coincidentally in Cardiff at the same time as IPA2011. I decided that I would not organise Playstock without some sort of blessing or understanding from the powers that be at PlayWales and the organising committee, so my 2nd step was to contact the person that I always think of as ‘the lovely Gill’.
She instantly understood what Playstock was about: I found myself talking about ‘a good heart’ and ‘the pure motives’ behind the idea of Playstock, and Gill was immediately warmly supportive. It was only later, when a misunderstanding on my part over advance publicity led to complaints from IPA arriving in Gill’s ear, that I realised just how much of a big favour she was doing for us. As we hadn’t officially announced Playstock, the simplest thing might have been to ask me to call it off, but she readily accepted my apology for the cock-up and was adamant that I should go ahead.
As we got closer to the start of IPA2011, I became aware (from other sources I should emphasise – Gill was always wonderfully diplomatic, supportive, circumspect and positive) of the political tensions within IPA and the kerfuffle that Playstock was provoking ‘wi’t’committee’ (like any other large august international body, there will always be internal politics.) I slowly (duh) became aware of just how much trust and ludicly- principled resolve Gill had deployed when she gave a simple ‘yes’ to Playstock.
I didn’t have the good fortune to get to know Gill properly, save for in passing at SOAP* and at PlayEd. I do know just how highly others spoke of Gill, however, and how amazingly helpful she was during the setting-up of Playstock Cardiff 2011; we must have been another headache she didn’t need and yet she still indulged us and offered her full support.
Our thoughts go out to her family and close friends at this time: thank you Gill, for always putting the play of children first and for being just such a lovely warm person.
on behalf of Playstock.
*SOAP = Spirit of Adventure Play.